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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.

The Biomechanical Effects of Deferoxamine on Irradiated Soft Tissue

Principal Investigator
Ryan DeCoster M.D., Ph.D.


University of Kentucky Research Foundation

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Breast (Cosmetic / Reconstructive), General Reconstructive

Radiation therapy is an invaluable and necessary tool in the treatment of breast cancer, having been shown to improve both local disease control and overall survival. However, the ability of radiation to eradicate and control breast cancer causes damage to the skin surrounding the breast. This can lead to complications including infection, implant exposure, breast deformity, a poor cosmetic result, patient dissatisfaction, corrective surgery and reconstructive failure. In the United States, implant-based breast reconstruction is by far the most common type of breast reconstruction. Unfortunately, the nearly half of patients opting for implant-based breast reconstruction in the setting of radiation therapy experience complications which are thought to occur in part as a result of the changing of the mechanical properties of the skin. To date, no therapy has been developed to reduce the negative effects of radiation to the skin of the breast. The long-term goal of our laboratory is to find ways can lessen the negative effects of radiation on the skin in order to lower the high number of complications associated with an implant-based reconstructive approach. Deferoxamine is an FDA-approved medication that has been used off-label to improve some skin properties in radiated, experimental animal models of breast reconstruction. We believe that deferoxamine has the ability to improve the mechanical properties of irradiated skin, which would improve the overall quality of the skin. To investigate this, we will use an animal model of implant-based breast reconstruction that has been radiated and we will see how deferoxamine does on improving the mechanical properties of the skin when compared to a placebo. We have developed a tool to measure the mechanical properties of the skin using complex mathematics and we will also use another method called atomic force microscopy that will provide mechanical evidence at a level not visible to the human eye. Together, these two methods will give us a better idea of the effects deferoxamine may have on improving the mechanical properties of skin damaged by radiation. The results of this study will allow researchers and clinicians to draw more accurate conclusions about the mechanical effects of deferoxamine on skin that has been damaged by radiation which could have profound implications on lowering the high number of complications associated with radiation therapy and implant-based breast reconstruction in the future.

Prior to college I completed six years in the United States Navy as a medic. While on active duty, I with deployed as a part of the humanitarian mission to Hurricane Katrina. I was also involved in the medical care of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay Cuba, and deployed with 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Infantry Regiment to Iraq in addiction to several other deployments. Following my military service, I used the G.I. Bill to get my undergraduate degree in biophysics at University of Kentucky, becoming the first college graduate in my family. I went on to receive my medical degree with distinction from the University of Kentucky as well. I am currently in a surgeon-scientist training program that is funded by the National Cancer Institute. As a part of the program, I am also completing a PhD in Clinical and Translational Science. The overall goal of the program is to train surgeons how to conduct research in order to advance the science of medicine and improve disease and suffering. The main focus of my research is on ways to mitigate the negative effects of radiation on the skin for breast cancer patients opting for breast reconstruction. My other research interests include healthcare disparities, Veteran's healthcare issues, and the reconstruction of war injuries. I am committed to a career in academic plastic surgery and hope to work as a plastic surgeon at a VA hospital in order to give back to those who have given so much.