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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.

Aligned Fiber-Hydrogel Composite to Repair Volumetric Muscle Loss

Principal Investigator
Amanda Westman PhD


Washington University

Funding Mechanism
Combined Pilot Research Grants

Focus Area
Tissue Engineering, General Reconstructive


Project Summary: Volumetric muscle loss (VML) is the traumatic or surgical loss of skeletal muscle resulting in impaired muscle function. For many types of injuries, skeletal muscle has the ability to repair and regenerate itself; however, in VML injuries, the loss of multiple tissue components is so extensive it exceeds the capability of muscle to repair itself. Treatment options for VML is limited and there is a need for new treatments to restore the tissue and function in these injuries. In this project, we will develop a synthetic matrix for the treatment of VML injuries. The matrix will be loaded with a compound (interleukin-1RA) to reduce inflammation, and it will consist of aligned fibers in a hydrogel to improve cell ingrowth and facilitate muscle regeneration and functional recovery. Specific Aim 1: To develop aligned nanofiber-hydrogel composites with anti-inflammatory characteristics in vitro. We will develop an aligned fiber-hydrogel composite and optimize it to match the mechanical property of rat skeletal muscle tissue. Then, the composite will be loaded with an anti-inflammatory compound (IL-1Ra) and its release profiles and bioactivities will be checked in vitro. Specific Aim 2: To assess the effects of composites on muscle regeneration in a rat model of VML. We will create a VML injury in the rat tibialis anterior muscle. Rats will be treated with aligned composite with or without IL-1Ra, and then sacrificed at Week 4 after composite implantation. Histology and immunohistochemistry will be performed to assess inflammation, fibrosis, and muscle regeneration. Muscle function will be assessed by peak isometric torque. We will compare the effects of IL-1Ra on inflammation, muscle regeneration and recovery.

Impact Summary: In this research, we will develop a synthetic matrix to improve skeletal muscle regeneration for patients with volumetric muscle loss (VML) injuries. VML injuries cause strength deficits and limited range of motion leading to reduced muscle function and quality of life for those with these injuries. There is a need for new treatment options to restore the tissue and function in VML injuries. The matrix developed in this work will provide a novel treatment that will both restore the missing muscle tissue and improve muscle function.

Amanda Westman PhD is an Assistant Professor of Surgery within the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Westman received her bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and her doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia. She has a broad background in surgically focused research and development of biomedical technologies. Dr. Westman previously researched technologies for a range of clinical problems including articular cartilage repair, vein interposition grafts, full-thickness cutaneous wounds, rapid microvascular anastomosis, peripheral nerve injuries, and volumetric muscle loss injuries in small and large animal models.