The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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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.

Enhancement of Wound Healing through Autologous CRISPR/Cas-edited Dendritic Cells

Principal Investigator
Dominic Henn MD


Stanford University

Funding Mechanism
Translational and Innovation Research Grant

Focus Area
Wounds / Scar

The goal of our project is to develop a novel therapeutic approach to facilitate healing of chronic wounds, e.g. in patients with diabetes or atherosclerotic vascular disease by isolating an individual's own dendritic cells (DCs) and reapplying them to the wound bed after CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing (adoptive cell transfer, ACT). The target gene to be modified in its expression is the N-Myc downstream-regulated gene 2 (NDRG2), which is highly expressed in DCs and controls the growth of several human tissues, including blood vessels, by inhibiting cell proliferation and enhancing apoptosis. We hypothesize that targeted knockout of NDRG2 in DCs promotes angiogenesis and facilitates wound healing. To test this hypothesis, we will establish a co-culture system of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and activated monocyte-derived DCs to determine the effect of NDRG2 knockout resp. drug-induced down-regulation in DCs on endothelial cell behavior in vitro (Specific Aim #1). Moreover, we will investigate whether ex vivo knockout of NDRG2 in DCs by means of CRISPR/Cas9 facilitates wound healing in diabetic and non-diabetic mouse full-thickness excisional wound models. Our long-term objective is to transfer the acquired knowledge into more complex models of large mammals and, as an ultimate goal, to develop clinically applicable tools to save patients with impaired wound healing from amputations.

I was born in 1989 in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. Before entering medical school in 2007, I had aspired to become a professional piano player, winning a medal of excellence at an international contest in Paris. I studied medicine at Freiburg University as a scholar of the German National Academic Foundation and received a magna cum laude degree for my doctoral thesis at the Dept. of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Saarland University, investigating gene expression in the aortic wall of patients with aortic valve malformations. Working on basic science research projects during medical school allowed me to gain hands-on experience in molecular genetic techniques. After graduating from Freiburg University in 2014 (overall grade: 1.0 – outstanding), I entered the integrated Plastic Surgery residency program at Heidelberg University (Chairman: Ulrich Kneser, MD) and continued basic science research on gene and microRNA expression in small and large animal models as well as human patients. I passed the USMLE Steps 1 – 3 and received the ECFMG certificate. For the years 2019 and 2020, I received a research scholarship from the German Research Foundation, giving me the opportunity to join Dr. Geoffrey C. Gurtner’s laboratory at Stanford as a postdoc.