Plastic Surgery Research Council Plastic Surgery Research Council - Spring 2017 Newsletter
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Message from the Chair

Howard Levinson, MD, Chair The PSRC 62nd Annual Meeting is only one month away and I am looking forward with great anticipation to welcoming you all to Durham, North Carolina. Tim King and I have planned strong scientific programs and engaging social events, which will take place in the backdrop of the four-star Washington Duke Inn and Hotel and Downtown Durham. The meeting will start with the Local Program which will be hosted at the Reynold’s Theatre in Duke University's Bryan Center on Thursday morning from 8-12am. The Local Program will consist of top notch speakers including Robert Califf, MD, founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute and former Director of the FDA; Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, Director of the Duke J. Margolis Center for Health Policy and former Senior Fellow in Economic Studies, Brookings Institution; Peter Johnson, MD, PSRC Past Chair (1998-1999) and entrepreneur, and an inspiring performance of Souke by the Gaspard Dancers. After the Local Program we will head back to the Washington Duke Inn for the business lunch, followed by presentations of our highest rated abstracts. Thursday evening we will have a Welcome Reception on the beautiful President's Terrace, followed by a basketball tournament (catered with burgers and beers) at the famous Cameron Indoor Stadium (#4 on Sports Ilustrated's list of top 20 sporting venues). Everyone is invited to play in the 4v4 PSRC basketball tournament in Cameron (games will be refereed) but we ask that you sign up ahead of time when you register for the meeting so we can create teams.

On Friday, we will continue with the scientific sessions and will briefly hear from a panel of experts on Medical Device Innovation from the Perspective of a Surgeon, Engineer, and Entrepreneur. Presenters include Robert Isaacs, MD, Director of Spine Surgery at Duke, Kenneth Gall, PhD, Professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke, and Bill Perry, CEO at Allied Minds Medical Device Companies,. Friday evening we will have the PSRC Poster Reception followed by the Members Dinner at the Rickhouse in downtown Durham overlooking the old Durham Bull ballpark.

On Saturday, we will wrap up the meeting with morning sessions and conclude by announcing the 2017 PSRC Award winners. Beginning at Saturday afternoon and continuing through Sunday afternoon, the Plastic Surgery Foundation will host its Research Fundamentals Workshop. The free workshop, including many thought leaders in plastic surgery, is specifically designed for medical students, fellows, graduate students, residents and young faculty to jump start their careers. It is offered every other year following the Plastic Surgery Research Council Annual Meeting. Please be sure to sign up with your PSRC meeting registration.

In terms of our organization, I would like to thank the PSRC Executive Committee and recognize the achievements of PSRC committee members and their leaders. Tim King, MD, PhD and the program committee has done an excellent job reviewing several hundred abstracts and organizing the 2017 program which includes an expansion of the agenda to incorporate multiple sessions on clinical research while retaining sessions in the “traditional” basic/translational sciences. I am confident Tim will do an equally wonderful job leading the Plastic Surgery Research Council next year in Birmingham, Alabama. Arin Greene, MD and the mentorship committee have energized the PSRC Mentorship Program this year garnering more than 45 volunteers for the program, the greatest number of volunteers for the program to date. Our Membership committee lead by Justin Sacks, MD and his team continued to grow membership and develop new programs to add value to membership. The Education and Technology Committees, Chaired by Anu Antony, MD, and Chad Gordon, MD, respectively, continued to collaborate and assess areas for enhancement to provide the greatest value to our members. Of specific interest to the membership is the Education Committee’s member interview series featured in the PSRC newsletter and the grant resources webpage which is a compilation of grant writing resources available to assist with the grant writing and application processes. A very popular endeavor undertaken by the Technology Committee this year was the creation of the Research Council Facebook page - be sure to find PSRC on Facebook! Both the Education and Technology committees also oversee the Annual Meeting mobile app process to ensure all applicable educational details are being delivered to meeting attendees in an efficient manner. Finally, I would like to thank our Newsletter team and lead Editor Eric Chang, MD, for taking charge of this publication and ensuring that up-to-date developments are shared with the PSRC membership.

As is evident, the PSRC continues to thrive and is more vibrant than ever. Our outstanding team of talented individuals has brought forth a unique platform for presentation and discussion of our best scientific investigations and innovations and the future is bright. It has been an honor to serve as Chairman of the Plastic Research Council this past year and I look forward to your visit at our upcoming meeting at Duke University in Durham, NC on May 4-7.

Warm regards,

Howard Levinson, MD

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PSRC 62nd Annual Meeting

PSRC 62nd Annual Meeting

PSRC 62nd Annual Meeting
May 4-7, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina

Register online before the meeting by visiting the PSRC Meeting Page.
The Washington Duke Inn is accepting reservations until Sunday, April 2nd at the group rate of 289 USD. Book here now!

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PSRC is on Facebook! Search PSRC and be sure to "Like" our page in order to be kept up to date on all the Councils activities.

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PSRC Members Receive Complimentary Registration for Association for Academic Surgery (AAS) 2016 Fall Course

The Association for Academic Surgery and Plastic Surgery Research Council have designed these opportunities to bring together young, academic surgeons from various specialties so as to engage them within the society and showcase many of the unique research, education, and leadership opportunities that are available. Through this event significant cross-pollination is occurring between surgical sub-subspecialties that do not traditional interact. During the event I was able to meet with members of the AAS who were plastic surgeons, general surgeons, urologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, vascular surgeons, and ENT surgeons and the course program showcased lectures by leaders in the surgical field who discussed their experiences in research with a unique focus on helping younger academic surgeons be successful. Thank you again for this support!

- Dr. John Fischer

I would like to sincerely thank the Plastic Surgery Research Council for the incredible opportunity to attend the Association for Academic Surgery fall courses. This was initially set up as a program between the Association for Academic Surgery and Plastic Surgery Research Council to improve collaboration between the groups. It was extremely successful in doing this. I had to opportunity to meet with members of the AAS who were plastic surgeons, general surgeons, urologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, vascular surgeons, and ENT surgeons. Additionally, this course held an impressive array of presentations by leaders in the surgical field who discussed their experiences in research. They focused on a wide range of topics including balancing your time, developing and writing grants, building and maintaining a team, and how to improve as a mentor and mentee. Personally this meeting taught me a great deal which I have already incorporated into my laboratory practices and grant writings. Additionally, the interaction with the people in additional surgical sub-specialties has helped me expand my understanding of specific areas of research and will likely lead to possible future collaborations. Finally, based on the support and recommendation of Dr. Clara Lee I am currently running for a position now within the AAS to improve collaboration and cross talk between different sub-specialties within surgery, including plastic surgery. I want to thank the Plastic Surgery Research Council and the Association for Academic Surgery again for their support, guidance and opportunities. These opportunities are essential for a young surgeon-scientist to continue to succeed.

- Dr. Benjamin Levi

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Membership Committee Update

The membership committee has seen tremendous success over the past year. We have witnessed the development of our mentorship activities become formalized into a separate mentorship committee. This committee was an outgrowth of our mentorship program and last several annual PSRC mentorship breakfasts with "champagne toasts". We currently have 618 total members with 219 active and voting members. The 219 active members represent the highest total we have had in a decade! Included in these active members are scientists with advanced degrees within Plastic Surgery Programs across North America and the world. Including scientists without formal plastic surgery training but specific research focus in Plastic Surgery has allowed us to include these valuable members in our society. With our international outreach we are attending the European Plastic Surgery Research Council and fostering cross-collaboration. We are actively sending out email blasts promoting our society and meetings. Members of the membership committee are actively distributing printed flyers and detailing our upcoming national meeting in Durham hosted by Duke University and Dr. Howard Levinson at national and international meetings. It has been a pleasure to lead our group over the last four years. Look forward to continued growth and success of the Plastic Surgery Research Council!


Justin Sacks, MD

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Mentorship Committee Update

The Mentorship Committee has had an active year. We initially ensured that Committee Members were participating in the Mentoring Program by assigning all members a mentee. Improvements to the program were based on survey results from the previous year. The most consistent area for improvement was communication between mentors and mentees (e.g., some mentors expected mentees to contact them and vice-versa). To enhance communication we instituted several strategies. First, we placed the responsibility of communication on mentors and started quarterly email reminders for mentors to contact their mentees. Second, we initiated a mechanism during the mid-year survey that would allow a mentee to be assigned a new mentor. Finally, we revised the application for the program to capture more detailed information about the mentors and mentees so we could better match individuals.

Another area that we modified was the breakfast meeting based on survey feedback suggesting a more structured format and topics for discussion. This year's breakfast will begin with the Chair's update about the committee/program and a framework for the mentor-mentee relationship. Next, we will have an experienced mentor speak from a mentor’s perspective (the Committee invited Bill Kuzon, MD), followed by a mentee in the program to speak from a mentee’s point-of view (the Committee invited Justin Broyles, MD). The remainder of the breakfast will allow the new mentor-mentee pairs to meet each other and discuss plans for the upcoming year. In order to enhance the benefits of the program to mentees, the Committee initiated a new charge allowing a mentee to contact a mentor outside of his/her primary match for focused advice if that mentor has particular expertise not otherwise available to the mentee. The Mentorship Committee was approached by the Cannon Society of the AAPS to engage in a mentorship program. The Committee elected to trial the arrangement this year, and then evaluate the program at the end of the year to determine whether it should continue or be expanded. During the annual meeting the Committee will review the most recent survey data, discuss further enhancements to the program, and establish action items for the next year.

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Education & Technology Committee Update

Figure 1
Figure 1
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In the year 2000, the very first design of the Plastic Surgery Research Council website was launched ( Since then, the technology committee has worked diligently to make it a valuable vehicle for both optimizing active member activity and in recruiting new members. To add to our understanding of its value and future potential opportunities for development, we have recently integrated an advanced website analytic system to understand our visitors and tailor the website to suit their needs. Our website is regularly visited from over 165 countries [Figure 1]. This newfound knowledge will assist our technology and educational committees in improving website networking efforts between organizational members, and potential collaborators- which will in turn lead to greater plastic surgery research opportunities, greater value to the membership, and an enhanced internet presence.

In fact, for the first time, the technology committee is presenting a poster at this year's annual meeting in Durham, NC (P1) demonstrating interesting data for – as related to the website's analytics system. Demographic data being presented includes number of visitors, ages, gender, countries, cities, internet browser and user flow.

The technology committee is also excited to announce the first launch of our official page for PS-RC on Facebook: @psrc1955. The page serves as an invaluable platform for public announcements and press releases. We also plan to post interesting articles from our specialty's top journals and a multitude of research funding opportunity announcements valuable to our members. The page will also provide our organization a way to share real time updates from the annual meeting, member pictures, and social events. This year, we plan to use the hashtag #psrc2017 as the official hashtag for all social media posts, and therefore we encourage you to use the same hashtag for all of your related posts.

Current ongoing efforts are directed towards developing the layout of the website, provide more thorough lab listings, and to publicize all active job positions with possible interest to our members. At the same time, we are initiating online networking opportunities with other sister societies within plastic surgery to increase our user reach and enhance online visibility.

Mohamed Ibrahim, MD (Duke) & Chad Gordon, DO, FACS (Johns Hopkins)

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Member Interview Featuring: Steve Buchman, MD

Steve Buchman, MD What was your light bulb moment / turning point into research?
I was involved in research as an undergraduate after getting a Macy Scholarship at Columbia University. I had a great mentor and was lucky enough to find a project that worked out well. The project led to publications in Nature and The Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences. That experience made me feel I could contribute as researcher

Who was your inspiration / mentor and how did they inspire you?
Charly Craik was the graduate student that took me under his wing when I was an undergraduate, he took science off of the shelf and made it real. Although he had me working quite hard with long hours, he was right there with me and shared the credit when it came time. I still keep in touch as he was afraid that when I went into medicine I would leave research entirely. I wanted to prove him wrong! (He is now a full professor of Chemistry at UCSF)

What was the greatest challenge you encountered in your research career / research focus?
The greatest challenge was finding the time as a full time surgeon to write an R01 grant to the NIH. I finally took a mini sabbatical for 3 months in which I still did some clinical work but a lot less. This was rewarded with my getting an R01 on my first try….I think I was just lucky.

How do you balance being a surgeon and a scientist?
Making the research part of what I do. Research is just about asking questions and finding answers. I amalgamate what I do in the operating room with what I do in the research lab. Also I enlist the help of Fellows, residents, need students, and undergraduates to get the work done. I have worked with over 150 individuals in that capacity since coming to the University of Michigan and it has made all the difference. I mentor them but they help me…a true win/win!!!

What is the breakdown of your time?
The key is working on a 36 hour day vs a 24 hour day, you get so much more time to do things that way….only kidding… my time does not break down the same on an everyday basis. I do my cases, see patients on clinic days, and in between I write papers/grants do a lot of editing and try to make sure our lab group meets and communicates effectively

How often do you meet with your lab / research group?
We met at a minimum of at least once per week, but I have an open door policy for my lab people and try to see them individually as needed between cases, after clinic or in the early evening if possible.

How many times did you apply for the NIH grant (or other extramural funding) before successfully receiving the grant?
I did get my R01 on my first try but I was lucky and I did have a huge amount of preliminary data from small grants for years before I applied. My competing renewal was not funded on the first try, but on second submission I received a 6th percentile and was funded for another 5 years.

What research database do you use?
I am not really and outcomes researcher although I do participate in outcomes research with other collaborators, so I do not have a particular research database that I use. We have a lab Wiki that we use and other programs to keep track of our research data that vary.

Best research /career advice you received?
Ask questions that matter to you. Be persistent. Believe in yourself. Collaborate and leverage the opportunities through collaboration. Ask for advice and utilize the experience of others to help you to succeed.

What advice do you have for early career scientists?
Find a mentor, collaborate, and look for opportunities.
Chance favors a prepared mind!!

How you have become successful?
Luck and Hard work. I've found great mentors and have been in an institution that prizes the idea of being a triple threat (Great clinician, teacher, and researcher), working in a place with the right culture, finding the right people to work with and taking advantage of opportunities as they come along have helped me immensely.

What do you feel the PSRC represents to surgeon scientists?
It is a great organization where you meet people with the same priorities and interests. We represent the bridge between the basic scientist and the clinicians and the people that are part of that organization demonstrate the real success stories for surgical scientists in our specialty.

What do you do for fun / relaxation?
I have four kids and a great wife so I am very lucky for their understanding and support. I love to be with them and will miss the kids greatly when they start moving to college which will be happening over the next 2 – 5 years. We ski and travel. I like going to their sporting events (Soccer and football and Cheer). I also enjoy Golf and Michigan Football... GO BLUE!

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