The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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Grants We Funded

In 2019, The Plastic Surgery Foundation (The PSF) awarded 33 investigator-initiated projects and allocated $891,274 to support the newest, clinically relevant research in plastic surgery.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons/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.

Neuronal and Schwann Cell Transcriptional States in Peripheral Nerve Regeneration

Principal Investigator
Suresh Mohan

Year
2019

Institution
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

Funding Mechanism
ASPN/PSF Research Grant

Focus Area
Peripheral Nerve, Peripheral Nerve

Abstract
Facial palsy (FP) is a vexing clinical condition with massive functional, aesthetic, and communication sequelae. The gold-standard clinical approach to smile reanimation in FP involves placing a nerve autograft across the upper lip that routes axons from a healthy-side facial nerve donor branch to the paralyzed side. In a subsequent surgery, free muscle is transplanted into the paralyzed side and neurotized by the cross-facial nerve graft (CFNG). The operation carries a 30% failure rate for incompletely understood reasons. Emerging evidence suggests Schwann cells (SCs) in distal portions of long grafts become less supportive of axonal regeneration following prolonged periods without axonal contact. Axonal growth arrest across long grafts results in suboptimal neurotization of distal targets and procedural failure. The molecular mechanisms underlying SC response to long-term denervation remain incompletely understood. Prolonging the pro-regenerative SC state within nerve grafts is a promising therapeutic target for enhancing clinical outcomes in smile reanimation. The goal of the proposed research is to characterize the transcriptional responses of CFNG SCs and facial motor neurons (FMNs) following axotomy and coaptation to freshly harvested as compared to long-term denervated nerve grafts. While prior work has employed quantitative PCR and bulk RNA sequencing to study peripheral nerve regeneration, such an approach assumes SCs and neurons are homogeneous populations. Herein, we hypothesize that transcriptional heterogeneity exists among nerve graft SCs following injury, and that differences exist between transcriptomes of FMNs whose axons are coapted to freshly harvested as opposed to long-term denervated nerve grafts. A novel mouse surgical model of prolonged nerve graft denervation simulating long nerve grafts in humans will be developed, and relationships between SC and FMN expression assessed using DroNc-seq, a novel massively parallel single nucleus RNA-sequencing technique. New knowledge will be gained regarding the molecular mechanisms underlying SC and FMN transcriptional changes following injury and nerve grafting. Such knowledge could inform therapeutic targets to prolong the SC repair state, mitigate apoptosis, and enhance clinical outcomes in nerve regeneration and smile reanimation.

Biography
Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Dr. Suresh Mohan graduated from the University of Michigan with dual concentrations in music and cell and molecular biology. He went on to complete his medical training at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University during which he completed a research fellowship at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) investigating novel targeted chemotherapeutics for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Later, Dr. Mohan completed his general surgery internship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA and is currently pursuing a T32 research track residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Mass Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School. Dr. Mohan's research is focused on applications for clinical management of facial palsy. He is currently working on characterization of neuronal and Schwann cell transcriptional responses to peripheral nerve injury and investigating novel techniques for study of peripheral nerve regeneration under the mentorship of Drs. Nate Jowett and Tessa Hadlock.