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PSRC Newsletter

Fall 2016
Message From the Chair: Howard Levinson, MD
Howard Levinson, MD, From the Chair
Howard Levinson, MD

Dear Colleagues,

It is with excitement and enthusiasm that I announce the Plastic Surgery Research Council 2017 Annual Meeting will be held in Durham! The meeting will take place at the Washington Duke Inn Thursday, May 4, 2017 through Saturday, May 6, 2017. It will be followed by a Plastic Surgery Foundation Fundamentals in Plastic Surgery Workshop starting the afternoon of May 6th, ending by noon on Sunday May 7th.

The local program will be held on May 4th at Fuqua Business School. I am looking forward to showcasing Durham, all that we are doing at Duke, and hosting some high profile speakers for the morning. Programming the afternoon of May 4th, May 5th and 6th will focus on research being conducted in plastic surgery and an opportunity for presenters and attendees to engage in dialogue, ask questions, and debate, all in the name of science. Sessions will take place at the lovely Washington Duke.

We also have a great social program lined up. A welcome reception will be held outside on the beautiful President’s Terrace at the Washington Duke on May 4th. The poster reception the afternoon of May 5th will be the perfect opportunity to mingle and indulge in libations while discussing research. Following the poster reception will be the Members Dinner at one of downtown Durham's finest. To wrap up the meeting, we will have a pickup basketball game the afternoon of May 6th at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

See you in Durham!

Howard Levinson, MD
Chair, PSRC

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Secretary-Treasurer Perspective: Gregory Borschel, MD
Gregory Borschel, MD, Message from the Secretary-Treasurer
Gregory Borschel, MD

Dear Colleagues,

My first year as Secretary-Treasurer for the Research Council has provided me with a wonderful experience. Thank you again for your confidence in electing me and I look forward to continuing on in this role through next spring.

I am pleased to report our organizationís finances remain stable and as of 2016 Q2, our checking account and investment account are relatively healthy. The Research Council ended the second quarter of 2016 with approximately $400,000 in assets and a $109,000 operating surplus. Finances from the joint meeting with AAPS this past May are nearly final and the PSRC Executive Council will be reviewing those, in addition to post meeting survey responses, to evaluate the combined meeting format. Looking ahead, focus will be on working with our new investment management firm, Mediqus Asset Advisors, Inc, to oversee the Research Council portfolio and preparing an operational and meeting budget for 2017.

From a Secretariat perspective, activity continues to move along. The PSRC leadership created new some new committees at its leadership meeting in May, including a Mentorship Program Committee and Newsletter Committee, which we hope will expand on the Research Councilís offerings. Existing committees, including the Education, Membership and Technology Committees, continue to work hard to provide members with value and opportunities.

Thank you for the responsibility entrusted to me as your Secretary-Treasurer. I am available for any and all questions and can be reached at gregory.borschel@sickkids.ca.

With kind regards,

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Education Committee Member Interview: Reid Maclellan, MD, MMSc
Reid MacLellan, MD, MMSc, Member Interview
Reid MacLellan, MD, MMSc

1. What was your light bulb moment / turning point into research?

Since I was a child, I’ve wanted to improve the lives of children with disfiguring conditions. My mother was both Drs. Frances “Tony” Marzoni and Luis Vasconez’s OR nurse at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama and UAB so I grew up inundated with stories of how plastic surgeons positively affected a patient’s life. When I began my research fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital my plan was to matriculate into a plastic surgery residency program. However, during my time in the laboratory I “fell in love” with research and decided to pursue a research-focused career. I realized I can exponentially help patients through translational research. During my research fellowship, I was introduced to the fields of vascular anomalies and lymphedema by Dr. Arin Greene. I was deeply moved by the patients I met with these conditions. Compared to other pediatric plastic surgery diseases, these lesions were far more disfiguring and caused significant local and systemic complications. Unlike other conditions that could be definitively treated, neither vascular anomalies nor lymphedema often was curable – and they worsened over time. I decided that my long-term goal was to treat and study children with these disorders. I realized that through research I could help not only my patients, but also children who were being treated by others.

2. Who was your inspiration / mentor and how did they inspire you?

Because my long-term goal has always been to conduct translational, patient-oriented research, I elected to dedicate three years after my general surgery internship to pursue formal research training. I joined the Department of Plastic Surgery Laboratory at Boston Children’s Hospital under the mentorship of Arin Greene, MD, MMSc, because I was interested in broad training in the field of vascular anomalies. As an aspiring academic plastic surgeon and translational researcher, I also was inspired to work with Dr. Greene because I viewed him as a role model. We’ve had a very successful relationship that’s led to multiple publications and NIH grants. Dr. Greene currently serves as my mentor for my NIH K23 award.

3. What was the greatest challenge you encountered in your research career / research focus?

I believe the greatest challenge most researchers encounter is applying for and being awarded a grant. Most of us are required to obtain funding to continue performing research. I believe a lot of researchers become discouraged by the multiple rejections.

4. How do you balance being a surgeon and a scientist?

I am unique in the fact that 100% of my effort is dedicated to translational research. Unlike most surgeon-scientists who operate, I only see patients clinically one-half day per week. This affords me the opportunity to focus all of my effort on research.

5. What is the breakdown of your time?

I see vascular anomalies and lymphedema patients one-half day per week in clinic. The remainder of my time is dedicated to performing translational research on these individuals. I meet with members of my research team daily to discuss our experiments. During the work week when I am not in the clinic or the laboratory, I am normally in my office writing or analyzing data. Dr. Arin Greene and I meet most Saturday mornings to design future projects.

6. How often do you meet with your lab / research group?

Our department’s lab has a weekly joint meeting with one of my NIH K23 award’s co-mentors Dr. Joyce Bischoff. During this meeting a lab member will present his or her updated results. In addition, Dr. Arin Greene and I also have weekly meetings with our research team. I have an open door policy with my team, so I am constantly interacting with them throughout experiments.

7. How many times did you apply for the NIH grant (or other extramural funding) before successfully receiving the grant?

Before I applied for a NIH grant I earned a Master of Medical Sciences degree from Harvard Medical School. My thesis found that vascular anomalies uniquely express the receptor for follicle-stimulating hormone. This finding supported our hypothesis – that follicle-stimulating hormone may stimulate vascular anomalies (the hormone peaks during puberty when vascular anomalies are most likely to enlarge). Vascular anomalies are the only benign, pathologic tissue known to express this receptor (Maclellan et al., PRS 2014). The project was the basis of my National Endowment for Plastic Surgery grant that served as preliminary data for an NIH R21 award for Dr. Arin Greene, as well as being the subject of my NIH K23 award. Because of outstanding mentors I was fortunate enough to receive a NIH award after resubmitting my first application.

8. What research database do you use?

During my fellowship I created a database of all patients referred to the lymphedema program at Boston Children’s Hospital. I manage it on a weekly basis and the database has provided a great infrastructure to produce multiple outcome studies.

My research team also manages a vascular anomalies’ specimen database. Our lab banks a portion of each vascular anomaly excised at Boston Children’s Hospital in a bio repository. This system allows us the opportunity to perform basic science experiments.

9. Best research /career advice you received?

I have received countless recommendations from my mentors throughout my career. The best advice I have ever received came from Dr. Arin Greene. During my fellowship, I had many research interests. He recommended that I focus my effort on only two diseases. Through his guidance, I have centered my basic science research around the relationship between vascular anomalies and pubertal hormones and I focused a majority of my clinical research on lymphedema.

10. What advice do you have for early career scientists?

Always protect your research time. You may seem to have lots of free time when you are first beginning your career and thus accept non-research related activities. It is easy to become distracted by multiple responsibilities- it is critical to focus on your research to be a successful scientist.

11. How you have become successful?

Growing up my mother instilled in me a desire to work hard and strive for greatness. This work ethic provides me the opportunity to approach all obstacles from a positive and productive stance. In addition, I am fortunate to have had excellent mentors throughout my career. They have guided me through all of my major academic decisions.

12. What do you feel the PSRC represents to surgeon scientists?

I believe the PSRC represents inclusion of all researchers focused on plastic surgery. It is an excellent forum for young surgeon-scientists and investigators focused on plastic surgery to present their work and receive feedback from established plastic surgeons. All great plastic surgeons have a mentor that taught him and guided him. PSRC does an incredible job of creating interactions between young and established members through its Mentoring Program. They provide a conduit for mentorship to begin at an early stage in a surgeon-scientist’s career.

13. What do you do for fun / relaxation?

If I’m not in the laboratory, you can normally find me volunteering for an incredible non-profit organization called Above the Clouds. Our mission is to bring joy and hope to seriously ill, disabled and disadvantaged children and teens through the wonder of small aircraft flight. Many existing in-hospital programs are designed to alleviate the tedium of long hospital stays and difficult medical treatments and procedures. Above the Clouds complements these activities with a different approach that delivers a unique kind of medicine. Young patients eagerly look forward to completing their hospital stay/treatment and receiving clearance from their medical team to take off on a Dream Flight. They build anticipation and excitement for a special, joyful experience flying in the co-pilot’s seat of a small airplane. We provide Dream Flyers the ability to feel hopeful just when things might seem hopeless.

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Education Committee Update

In May 2016 the Education Committee met during the AAPS/PSRC Joint Annual Meeting and discussed new initiatives that would benefit the members of PSRC. Over the past year the Education committee has focused on bringing more grant opportunities to the members of PSRC through research and in 2014 a survey was sent to the members regarding their funding opportunities. With the results of that survey and continued research amongst the committee the Education Committee is pleased to promote more grant opportunities as they become available.

The Research Fundamentals Workshop May 6-7, 2017, chaired by Anuja K. Antony, MD, MPH, FACS, PSRC Education Committee Chair, is open to all PSRC members and will kick off immediately following the PSRC program in Durham, Saturday afternoon, May 6! Lunch will be provided to start an exciting afternoon session. This year's workshop will explore current and emerging issues in plastic surgery research fundamentals and academic promotion, offering both presentations and interactive sessions with key experts in the field, as well as networking opportunities throughout the Workshop.

Started in 2009, this year’s Research Fundamentals Workshop will offer a mix of traditional favorites and emerging topics including how to develop an academic plastic surgery career and maintain work/life balance to adapting to the changing environment of plastic surgery research, getting funded and engaging cross-discipline partners. Breakout sessions will be offered for students, residents, early and mid-level faculty. Exciting new sessions will include the art of negotiating academic promotion and research challenges when switching institutions, dealing with a difficult work environment, the importance of the mentor-mentee relationship and navigating the generational differences in academic medicine.

We look forward to your RSVP and participation in this year's upcoming workshop! To confirm your attendance at the workshop, please email Mary Ruth Arway at rarway@plasticsurgery.org. You will also be able to register for the Workshop with your PSRC Annual Meeting Registration.

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Technology Committee Update

The technology committee recently met in May 2016 during the Joint Meeting in New York City and will be working very hard this upcoming year to enhance the PSRC website. The technology committee has started by installing a new website analytics system to follow up on demographics and statistics from PS-RC.org visitors. The data obtained will allow the committee to further improve the website and guide our future decisions regarding development plans. The technology committee has been working with other committees as they continue to grow and expand to give more public updates and looking at different ways to publish their updates on the website to entice more members to become active with the committees.

In order to make the most of the year with the committee, during the bi-monthly conference calls the committee will work on developing and improving the layout and design of PS-RC.org as well as the overall content included in the website. As social media becomes bigger the technology committee will work with the Executive Council to establish a social media presence through a society fan page and on different social media platforms to engage more visitors and target active audience.

The technology committee is really working towards bettering the society through technology and the website and if you feel there is something specific the site could use or the society as a whole would benefit from please send your ideas to the Administrator, Shelagh Kelley, at skelley@prri.com.

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Membership Committee Update

The Membership Committee is pleased to announce that PSRC membership remains strong with close to 600 members and is happy to introduce 35 new members this year. The By-Laws were amended in May 2015 to include non-plastic surgeon researchers who hold an advanced degree (PhD, MPH, MD, MBA) and whose primary appointment is in a Department or Division of Plastic Surgery within Active membership, so please encourages your colleagues to join the PSRC.

The PSRC Mentorship Program is now in its 3rd year. The 2016 cycle began with a very successful kick-off Breakfast and Champagne Toast during the Joint Annual Meeting in New York City where pairs are matched. This year the program has twenty-seven pairs and growing. The Program is designed to pair young medical students, faculty, fellows, residents, or research fellows and provide them with the unique opportunity to gain experience from seasoned research veterans. With the Program continuing to grow at a rapid rate the Membership Committee will be working with the newly established Mentorship Committee for oversight and enhancement of the program. These committees look forward to a great partnership and growing this opportunity for residents, or research fellows. For more information regarding the program take a look at the Mentorship Program Page.

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