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Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2023 cycle requested a total of nearly $4 million dollars. The PSF Study Section Subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated nearly 140 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling over $1 million dollars to support nearly 30 plastic surgery research proposals.

ASPS/PSF leadership is committed to continuing to provide high levels of investigator-initiated research support to ensure that plastic surgeons have the needed research resources to be pioneers and innovators in advancing the practice of medicine.

Research Abstracts

Search The PSF database to have easy access to full-text grant abstracts from past PSF-funded research projects 2003 to present. All abstracts are the work of the Principal Investigators and were retrieved from their PSF grant applications. Several different filters may be applied to locate abstracts specific to a particular focus area or PSF funding mechanism.

Regeneration of Atrophic Muscle using Injectable Skeletal Muscle-Derived ECM

Principal Investigator
Kacey Marra PhD


University of Pittsburgh

Funding Mechanism
AAPS/PSF Academic Scholar Award

Focus Area
Tissue Engineering, Peripheral Nerve

Peripheral nerve injury and its related loss in muscle function impacts the healthcare system in a profoundly disadvantageous manner. Nearly $150 billion is spent annually on peripheral nerve injury and its related ailments, affecting disproportionality young populations, which notably extends to those who serve in the armed forces. These injuries not only burden the healthcare system, but remove from these individuals their ability to contribute socioeconomically as well. Significant advancements in nerve treatment and regeneration therapies have been made in recent years, though innovation treatments for the denervated muscle results from such nerve injuries have lagged. Sensory re-education, and physical and electrostimulation therapies remain at the forefront for aiding in functional recovery of the injured nerve, but have seen exceptionally inconsistent successes, varying site-to-site, patient-to-patient, as well as by the severity of the injury. A tissue-engineered therapy for addressing this notable gap in care would be well served as an augmenting, or ideally, a standalone therapy for focus on atrophic muscle and its loss of function. As the appreciation for tissue engineered extracellular matrices (ECM) remains pervasive in the literature, and the dynamic roles that ECMs continue to be elucidated as essential for muscular activity, a skeletal muscle-derived ECM is an ideal candidate for the regeneration of muscle power and function. Here, we will use ANOVA methods for optimization of muscle tissue decellularization, creating a hydrogel scaffold containing minimal DNA content, while maximizing the pro-myogenic factor IGF-1. An infusion-based method using a 3D printed bioreactor will allow for creating scaffolds consistent with this objective. The skeletal muscle-derived ECM will be injected directly into the denervated gastrocnemius muscle in a rodent nerve sciatic injury model. Rodents with and without ECM injection will be subjected electrostimulation therapy, consist with the standard of care. Myogenic transcriptional factors will be assessed comparing the ECM therapy to the standard of care. This investigation will quantitate the regenerative capacity of muscle specific ECM for atrophic muscle therapy.

Kacey Marra is an Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Department of Plastic Surgery (Primary), and School of Engineering, Department of Bioengineering (Secondary) at the University of Pittsburgh. Her academic training was in the areas of polymer chemistry, biomaterials and tissue engineering. She is the Director of the Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory. She is also a core faculty member in the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, where she has served as a member of the Executive Committee since 2004. She has a publication record of 114 peer-reviewed publications, 24 reviews, 14 book chapters, and 4 patents, and over 560 abstracts in the areas of nerve regeneration, adipose stem cells, bioreactors, tissue engineering, and wound healing. Her funding includes NIH, NSF, and DoD grants in the area of regenerative medicine (including the Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine, (AFIRM)). She is a member of the CDMRP PRORP Programmatic Panel, and also the Enabling Technology Core Focus Area Leader in AFIRM II. She was Co-Chair of the 2015 Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) World Congress, held in Boston. Dr. Marra serves on the editorial board of 4 journals (ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering, Cells Tissues Organs, Annals of Plastic Surgery, and the Journal of Tissue Engineering).