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.

Enhancing Nerve Repair By Photochemically Sealing Growth Factors

Principal Investigator
Prabhu Senthil-Kumar MD


Massachusetts General Hospital (The General Hospital Corp.)

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Peripheral Nerve

Since it's advent in the 1970's microsurgical repair has remained the gold standard approach to peripheral nerve injury. Microsurgical neurorrhaphy often results in a suboptimal functional recovery. Photochemical tissue bonding (PTB), a method of covalent bonding with a laser activated dye, combined with an amnion nerve wrap, has been shown in animal models of nerve repair to have improved functional outcome over standard repair. Sealing of the repair site isolates the endoneural environment, reduces axonal escape, adhesion/scar formation and disturbance from extrinsic inflammatory factors. Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), a potent neuromuscular growth factor has a powerful effect in enhancing the survival of both motor and sensory neurons, while reducing denervation-induced muscle atrophy following nerve transaction in many in vitro and in vivo studies. In addition, LIF attracts activate macrophages important in Wallerian degeneration and recycling of cholesterol to regenerating neurons, stimulates mitosis and trophic factor production by Schwann cells. Transcription and synthesis of LIF at the injured site takes 2-7 days and anterograde LIF transport ceases within 24 hours after nerve injury, suggesting that exogenous administration of LIF to a neurorrhaphy site would improve functional outcome. Hypothesis: Exogenous administration of LIF into photochemically sealed amnion-wrapped neurorrhaphy sites will enhance functional outcomes over PTB/amnion alone or microsurgical repair alone. Rationale: PTB with amnion wrapping and administration of LIF separately have been shown to improve functional outcome in nerve repair when evaluated individually. Administering LIF into a PTB-sealed amnion wrap at the repair site should optimize its delivery, retention, efficacy and the functional outcome. Aim: Compare the technique of delivering LIF into PTB/amnion wrapping with PTB/amnion wrapping alone and with standard microsurgical repair of peripheral nerve injuries.

Dr. Prabhu SenthilKumar received his medical degree from the Stanley Medical College, Chennai, India. He developed interest in plastic surgery during his internship rotation in the plastic and reconstructive division. The plastic and reconstructive program at his medical school hospital is extraordinary in its volume and its diverse cases, yet it gave him limited research exposure. His interest in finding a quality research experience led him to seek a research opportunity in the United States. After completion of his medical school training, he began working as junior resident in surgery in various hospitals in India. He was accepted as a Research fellow in the Plastic surgery Research Laboratory and the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 2009. His primary area of interest is technology oriented research focused on reconstructive microsurgery. Senthilkumar began working under the direction of Dr. Jonathan M. Winograd and Mark A. Randolph in Division of Plastic Surgery and Drs. Irene E. Kochevar and Robert W. Redmond in the Wellman Center on peripheral nerve and tendon repair using a Photochemical Tissue Binding (PTB) technique. His work will center on improving nerve repair by studying the influence of various trophic factors on nerve regeneration combined with photochemical tissue bonding. This technique basically uses thin transparent materials like amnion or nanofiber silk coated with Rose Bengal dye and then fixed to the repair site using light energy to crosslink the material to the nerve and produce tight seal as well as great strength. He is also involved in conducting a clinical trial in evaluating photochemical tissue bonding technique for digital nerve repair moving this novel treatment from bench to bedside.