The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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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.

Accelerated Skin Wound Healing by Small Molecule Compounds Modulating Npas2

Principal Investigator
Akishige Hokugo


The Regents of the University of California, Los Angeles

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Wounds / Scar

Project Summary: Facial wound repair often leaves noticeable scar impairing not only bio-functional recovery but also long-term psychosocial well being of our patients. Unlike fetal wound “purse-string” closure, adult skin no longer possesses this self-closure mechanism and, even with the aid of sutures or adhesives, the wound gap is filled with granulation tissue leading to scarring. The long-term goal of this project is to develop a new medical device containing chemical compounds capable of inducing rapid wound closure of incisional or excisional dermal wound leading to minimal scarring. The PI's group has investigated the molecular mechanism of oral wound healing, which exhibits rapid approximation of wound margins without scarring and recently discovered that suppression of circadian clock molecule, Neuronal PAS domain 2 (Npas2) by knockout (KO) mutation in mice significantly accelerate wound healing. From this finding, we hypothesize that the therapeutic suppression of Npas2 increases the capacity of skin wound healing. The objective of this pilot study is to identify chemical compounds that suppress Npas2 expression through high throughput screening (HTS). UCLA Molecular Screening Shared Resource (MSSR) has a vast list of HTS-ready compounds ideal for the project and already identified 5 hit compounds. The identified candidate compounds will be rigorously validated for the effectiveness and safety. The compounds will be subjected to biological validations using primary dermal fibroblasts by target specificity assay and in vitro wound healing/cell migration assay. Moreover, compounds will be tested in vivo by an incisional wound model. The outcome of this study will identify clinically feasible chemical compounds, which will provide the basis for designing a new medical device in order to better manage skin wound healing and to significantly decrease scarring on the face. Impact Statement: Wound scarring on the face from surgical correction of cleft lip or injury can leave lasting effect on bio-psychosocial well-being. This project proposes to apply a robust high throughput drug screening method to identify a new therapeutic agent accelerating the wound closure and thus minimizing the chance to develop scarring.

Dr. Akishige Hokugo received his dental degree (D.D.S.) in 1999 from Osaka Dental University in Japan. He then entered the Graduate School of Dentistry in the First Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the same university, where he received training in oral and maxillofacial surgery and Ph.D. research. He received his Ph.D. in 2003. He then worked as a COE researcher (postdoctoral research fellow) in the Department of Biomaterials at the Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences of Kyoto University under the supervision of Prof. Yasuhiko Tabata from 2004 to 2006. Dr. Hokugo was a postdoctoral research fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) from 2006 to 2008. In 2007 Dr. Hokugo moved to United States. He was a postdoctoral scholar under Dr. Ichiro Nishimura in the Weintraub Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology at the UCLA School of Dentistry. Dr. Hokugo’s research focused on bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ) from the perspectives of osteoimmunology and bone metabolism. He also focused on wound healing of gingiva and influence of vitamin D insufficiency for alveolar bone healing. From 2014, Dr. Hokugo is an Adjunct Assistant Professor after his postdoctoral scholar under Dr. Reza Jarrahy in Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His current research focuses on various tissue regeneration including bone, peripheral nerve, and skin based on tissue engineering technologies.