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Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2022 cycle requested a total of over $2.9 million dollars. The PSF Study Section subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated 115 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling almost $550,000 to support 19 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.

Viability & Signaling of the Muscle Cuff Regenerative Peripheral Nerve Interface

Principal Investigator
Carrie Kubiak MD


University of Michigan, Section of Plastic Surgery

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Peripheral Nerve, Tissue Engineering

In the past three decades, robotic exoskeletons have emerged as promising tools for the restoration of functional independence for stroke survivors. Despite these impressive technological advancements, exoskeletons that provide stroke survivors with seamless intuitive motor control of the device have not yet been realized. The challenge remains to design an interface that allows for a more direct and accurate measurement of the user's motion intention. Peripheral nerves are ideal for this role given their functional selectivity and relative ease of accessibility. However, current interface methods such as penetrating electrodes are limited by low signal amplitude and interface instability. In this proposal, we introduce and describe the novel Muscle Cuff Regenerative Peripheral Nerve Interface (MCRPNI). The MC-RPNI is a biologic cuff interface with the potential to directly detect the user's motor intention from peripheral nerve signals without having to transect the nerve. The MC-RPNI construct is composed of a free autologous muscle graft implanted circumferentially around an intact (undivided) peripheral nerve. Preliminary data from our lab suggests that the MC-RPNI will be reinnervated by sprouting axons and will be capable of transmitting amplified motor signals for control of functional assistive devices. The design of MCRPNI confers the benefit of amplifying efferent, motor nerve signals from peripheral nerves for detection of user's motor intent without cutting the nerve itself. We intend to demonstrate the viability and functionality of the MCRPNI through rigorous histologic and electrophysiologic evaluation in a rat model. The muscle cuff will be positioned circumferentially around the common peroneal nerve both with and without an epineurial window. Confirmation of spontaneous reinnervation of the muscle cuff and evidence of signal transduction and amplification will validate a potential role for the MC-RPNI in human-machine interfacing. Our ultimate goal is to develop a biologic interface suited for signal transduction from intact peripheral nerves to provide high-fidelity motor control of an exoskeleton. This technology would allow for natural integration of motor signals at the level of a stroke patient's peripheral nerves and the evolution of an ideal exoskeleton device.

Carrie Kubiak graduated as Valedictorian from Michigan State University’s College of Natural Science with a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science in 2010. Throughout her undergraduate career, she was the recipient of many scholarships including the Board of Trustees Award. She next attended Wayne State University Medical School, where she became a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and served in leadership positions in several student programs. Carrie received several more scholarships including the Board of Governors Dean’s Scholarship for three consecutive years. The involvement in research projects during medical school gave Dr. Kubiak the eagerness to pursue research during residency. It was the emphasis on research which led her to the University of Michigan where she is now a fourth resident in the Integrated Plastic Surgery Program and the current T32 translational research fellow. Her research focus is on peripheral nerve regeneration and advancing the science of the regenerative peripheral nerve interface (RPNI). In August 2017, her oral presentation titled “Mitigation of Postamputation Pain with the Prophylactic Regenerative Peripheral Nerve Interface” won 2nd place for best paper at the 9th Annual European Plastic Surgery Research Council in Bucharest, Romania. This January, she will be traveling to the American Society for Peripheral Nerve Annual Meeting to give two more oral presentations related to her research with the RPNI.