Grants We Funded
In 2019, The Plastic Surgery Foundation (The PSF) awarded 33 investigator-initiated projects and allocated $891,274 to support the newest, clinically relevant research in plastic surgery.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons/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.
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.
Influence of PEDOT and myoblasts on neuroma formation
Benjamin Wei MD
The Regents of the University of Michigan
Pilot Research Grant
Hand or Upper Extremity, Peripheral Nerve
An estimated 185,000 Americans undergo limb amputation each year; one in 190 Americans has had one already. Modern robotics hold the potential for detailed functional replication of the human hand. The significant obstacle to using these advanced prosthetics, however, lies at the interface between the nerves of the patient the electronics of the prosthetic. This nerve-machine interface is notorious for scarring over the long-term, which ultimately halts electrical communication between the prosthetic and the patient. Importantly, a significant proportion of amputees suffer from neuromas, a tangled cluster of regenerating nerve endings that forms at the end of cut nerves. Neuromas are both painful and a source of action potential signal interference.
Our group is interested in developing a peripheral nerve interface that allows the patient to move a prosthetic using his own motor nerves, and to experience sensation from the prosthetic using his own sensory nerves. Such an interface requires high fidelity, long-term biocompatibility, and minimal neuroma potential. We have already synthesized an organic polymer that is very conductive and has demonstrated promising biocompatible traits. This polymer is known as poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT). To address neuroma formation, we have shown that placing muscle cells at the interface can give regenerating peripheral nerves a target to grow towards, potentially reducing neuromas. Our model is the rat peroneal nerve, a nerve in the leg that carries both motor information from the brain to the foot and sensory information from the foot to the brain. The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of PEDOT and myoblasts on neuroma formation in rat peroneal nerves.
Dr. Wei received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences at Cornell University in 2003. During his undergraduate training, Dr. Wei was selected for research funding as a Cornell Presidential Research Scholar to study oncogenes at a division of the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique in France. Upon graduation, he subsequently returned to his home state for medical school at the University of Michigan. After his first year, Dr. Wei was chosen to be a National Science Foundation Research Fellow in the East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Program, studying infectious disease at the National Taiwan University in Taipei. In the summer of 2007, he began his general surgery residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Dr. Wei was awarded the 2010 Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation Pilot Research Grant to study peripheral nerve under the direction of Dr. Paul Cederna, Professor of Surgery in the Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of Michigan. In the era of improved body armor in the US military, a rising number of soldiers are returning from conflicts having survived injuries that were once considered lethal, only to be left with debilitating limb losses. Dr. Cederna’s group aims to develop an upper extremity prosthetic that returns motor and sensory function to these amputees by interfacing with residual peripheral nerves. Dr. Wei’s work will focus on the quantification and reduction of neuroma formation for application to these prosthetics.