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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.

Ventral Hernia Repair with Adipose Stem Cells and Porcine Dermis

Principal Investigator
Kai Szu


University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Funding Mechanism
ASRM/PSF Research Grant

Focus Area
Tissue Engineering, General Reconstructive

Ventral hernia recurrence is associated with substantial patient morbidity and presents a pervasive surgical dilemma. Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) are shown to improve healing in many settings. We propose a pilot study to evaluate ASCs in ventral hernia repair with non-cross-linked porcine acellular dermal matrix (ncl-PADM) in vivo. Stem cell research requires definitive quantification of the extent to which ASCs augment neo-vascularization, cellular infiltration, and repair site strength, as preliminary studies support their utility in these outcomes. Our hypothesis is that seeding ASCs onto ncl-PADM will increase the neo-vascularization and cellularization within the material as well as the mesh incorporation strength at the musculofascial edge in hernia repairs. An established syngeneic rat model will be used. 4 Brown-Norway rats will provide ASCs for culture and transfection with green fluorescent protein (GFP). 4 x 2 cm elliptical mesh constructs (ncl-PADM) will be seeded 1 x 10^6 ASCs for 24 hours. An acute ventral hernia will be made and repaired via an inlay, bridged technique. Group 1 (n=30) will serve as the controls and receive repair with un-seeded ncl-PADM. Group 2 (n=30) will undergo repair with ASC-seeded ncl-PADM. Animals will be euthanized at week 2, 4, or 6. Analysis will include histologic and immunohistologic evaluation with H & E stain for cellularity and Factor 8 for neo-vascularity. Uniaxial mechanical testing to determine incorporation strength will be performed. Stress strain curves will determine ultimate tensile strength and elastic modulus. Confocal microscopy will show fluorescent immunostaining of the GFP-labeled cells within the repair site and biomaterial. If ASCs are found to quantitatively enhance in vivo repair with ncl-PADM, preliminary clinical trials in humans may be warranted, as this novel technique could ultimately have significant clinical utility in decreasing hernia recurrence and its associated morbidity.

Kristin Turza Campbell is in her fourth year of general surgery residency, and has been a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Plastic Surgery at MD Anderson Cancer for one year. Working with many cancer and trauma patients with soft tissue defects during the first two clinical years of residency piqued an interest in tissue engineering to reconstruct the defects. Previous peer-reviewed work focused on melanoma diagnosis, in the form of a mapping technique for cases with unclear margins published in Annals of Surgical Oncology, and local therapy for dermal melanoma metastases. During the course of previous training and writing, reconstruction of patients with challenging soft tissue defects became of specific interest, as she gained a full appreciation of the significant morbidity associated with these defects. Kristin then pursued a postdoctoral research with Dr. Charles Butler during residency in order to hone relevant lab skills in the field of reconstructive surgery. Upon arrival to MD Anderson Cancer Center, Kristin embarked on several in vitro and in vivo studies on reconstruction of musculofascial defects of the anterior abdomen (ventral hernias). The lab in which she works at MD Anderson is entitled, "Tissue Regeneration and Molecular Cell Engineering Lab" (TRAMCEL). Bioprosthetics, notably porcine acelluar dermal matrix (Strattice and Collamend) and human acellular dermal matrix (AlloDerm), was Kristin’s specialty focus in the lab. One of her main research interests has been comparing non-cross-linked porcine acellular dermal matrix and human acelluar dermal matrix in vivo with respect to cellular and vascular infiltration and mechanical strength testing of the musculofascia-bioprosthetic interface. The work was presented at the 55th Annual Plastic Surgery Research Council meeting in May 2010, and is in press currently. For this work, Kristin received the MD Anderson Bristol-Myers-Squibb award for Translational Basic Science Research. Another focus of her research was evaluating fibrovascular remodeling and mechanical strength of cross-linked versus non-cross-linked porcine dermal matrices. This work has been peer-reviewed and is currently in press in the Journal of American College of Surgeons (JACS). The next phase of her research involves use of bioprosthetics augmented with adipose stem cell therapy to strengthen repairs of musculofascial defects. Ultimately, Kristin is going to pursue a career in academic surgery with a research focus in tissue engineering. She is dedicated to teaching, and during clinical residency, Kristin received a distinguished teaching award, entitled the University of Virginia Curtis G. Tribble Award for Resident Teaching, and was also nominated for Mullholland Resident Teaching Award. She considers being in a dynamic teaching environment with tissue engineering lab her ultimate academic goal.