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Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2021 cycle requested a total of over $3.3 million dollars. The PSF Study Section subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated 106 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling more than $755,000 to support 25 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.

Multichannel Carbon Fiber Electrodes to Enhance Nerve Regeneration

Principal Investigator
Stephen Kemp PhD


University of Michigan, Section of Plastic Surgery

Funding Mechanism
ASPN/PSF Research Grant

Focus Area
Peripheral Nerve, Tissue Engineering

There is a fundamental gap in understanding how to provide prosthetic limbs with high-fidelity, multichannel electrodes for control of separate and independent degrees of freedom. Continued existence of this gap represents an important problem because the lack of an ideal patient-prosthetic interface allowing for both sophisticated motor control and sensory feedback will continue to lead to non-use and abandonment of artificial limbs. Ultra-small, high density arrays of parallel, precisely aligned, and evenly spaced cellular scale carbon fiber thread electrodes within regenerative peripheral nerve interfaces (RPNIs) is a novel surgical strategy to overcome this problem. The long-term goal of this research is to use prosthetics to restore natural limb movement and sensation to people with amputations. Our overall objective here, which is the next step in pursuit of that goal, is to develop a single biologic interface where high-fidelity, multichannel carbon fiber electrodes control independent degrees of freedom from individual nerve fascicles. Our central hypothesis is that these microscopic electrode arrays will not only be capable of recording compound muscle action potentials from individual RPNIs, but that these constructs will remain electrophysiologically stable over time. We will test our central hypothesis by pursuing the following two specific aims: (1) Develop ultra-high density carbon fiber arrays and evaluate their electrophysiological characteristics, and; (2) Determine chronic electrophysiological signal transduction capabilities of these carbon fiber arrays in RPNIs. In the first aim, ultrafine (8 ?m) carbon fiber thread electrodes will be implanted in intact muscle and detailed electrophysiological recordings from single motor units will be recorded. Under the second aim, chronic evaluation of these carbon fiber electrodes will be assessed and compared to standard electrode arrays. The approach is innovative, in the applicant's opinion, because it departs from the status quo by providing RPNIs with high fidelity electrodes capable of controlling individual degrees of freedom. The proposed research is significant, because results are expected to vertically advance understanding of intuitive prosthetic control, while providing the basis for closed-loop neural control of prosthetic systems. Successful development of this peripheral nerve interface technology would cultivate the evolution of a system with ideal prosthesis function.

Stephen Kemp, PhD completed his Honours Bachelor of Science at the University of Toronto, where he conducted his undergraduate thesis under the supervision of Dr. Gerald Cupchik. During this time, Dr. Kemp’s research focused on the psychology of creativity, and the development of a "matching and modulation" psychological model of aesthetic response. Dr. Kemp’s undergraduate thesis led to the publication of two peer-reviewed publications, and one book chapter. Following graduation, Dr. Kemp completed his Master’s degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, under the supervision of Linda Parker, PhD. His research focused on the effect of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on lithium induced sickness behaviours in both rats and house musk shrews. Stephen completed his PhD at the University of Calgary, under the mentorship of Rajiv Midha, MD, focusing on the anatomical, sensorimotor, and functional evaluation of peripheral nerve regeneration through bio-engineered conduits in rodents. During this tenure, Dr. Kemp became a member of numerous scientific societies, including the Society for Neuroscience, the Canadian Society for Neuroscience, and the American Society for Peripheral Nerve. Dr. Kemp also published nine peer-reviewed publications. One of his papers was highlighted in Experimental Neurology as an outstanding paper. Following his tenure in Calgary, Dr. Kemp accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children with Gregory Borschel, MD and Tessa Gordon, PhD. Dr. Kemp continues to investigate treatment of nerve injuries, and has expanded his research to focus on treatment of neonatal nerve injuries. Dr. Kemp has won numerous awards during his scientific career, including prestigious postdoctoral awards. Overall, Dr. Kemp has 14 published peer reviewed publications, two book chapters, two News and Views commentaries, 18 abstracts, and 21 international conference presentations.