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Justin M. Sacks, MD, MBA

Justin M. Sacks, MD, MBAThe 64th Annual PSRC Meeting will be held in Baltimore, Maryland May 2-5, 2019. We are looking forward to a tremendous attendance and participation. Dr. Gregory Borschel (Program Chair) and I are planning outstanding scientific programs and engaging social events, which will take place in and around Baltimore city. The meeting will celebrate Plastic Surgery Research including basic, clinical and translational aspects. A major highlight of the program will be the integration of the Plastic Surgery Foundation (PSF) Research Fundamentals Workshop (RFW) over the course of the entire program. The Local Program will take place at The Johns Hopkins Hospital on Thursday May 2nd, followed by a Welcome Reception at the National Aquarium that evening in the inner harbor. On Friday May 3rd, we will host the Members Dinner at The Walters Art Museum. Saturday night, May 4th, we will celebrate the integration of the PSF-RFW with a gathering in Harbor East overlooking the Inner Harbor.

We are excited to bring the Annual Meeting to historic and vibrant Baltimore! May will bring fair weather and, of course, the start of the Maryland crab season. There is a wealth of attractions surrounding the conference center, which I hope you all will be able to explore. Here are some select highlights:

The central meeting hotel is The Hyatt Regency, situated in the heart of Baltimoreís Inner Harbor. The acclaimed National Aquarium (Welcome Reception) is situated next door. Those preferring the sights and sounds of the city will be greeted by hundreds of shops, restaurants, and museums. The Lewis Museum, which explores Maryland African-American heritage, sits several blocks east of the aquarium and, to the south in Federal Hill, you can find the Science Center, Museum of Industry, and quirky American Visionary Arts Museum.

Just a short walk (or water taxi) away is Harbor East, boasting some of Baltimoreís fine gourmet dining and a lively nightlife. Trek to the rooftop of the Four Seasons to enjoy the opulent Bygone, for dinner or drinks with an absolutely stunning panoramic view of Charm City. Dozens of restaurants line the waterfront, allowing you to enjoy your meal alongside the bay with everything from traditional Maryland seafood to Japanese (Azumi), Lebanese (Lebanese Taverna), and Argentinian (Bar Vasquez) cuisine (just to name a few!).

A short walk from Harbor East is Fellís Point, a quaint neighborhood with cobblestone streets and waterfront taverns. Those looking for an evening retreat will find the Sagamore Pendry, a century-old warehouse turned award-winning hotel, and in the heart of Fellsí cobblestone center is Maxís Taphouse, renowned for its 100+ beers on tap. We will all have a blast here!

If you travel north from the conference center, you will find a different Baltimore gem: Mount Vernon. This is a refined and historic neighborhood, dominated by the beautiful original Washington Monument. Those with a taste for history can venture though the stunning Peabody Library or the Walters Art Museum (Members Dinner), while a lush assortment of restaurants line its streets. Two Baltimore institutions include The Brewerís Art, a brewery meets restaurant, and The Helmand, which serves delicious Afghan cuisine. Those looking for boutique luxury can seek out Hotel Ivy.

Those with additional time to explore beyond the cityís bounds will find a region ripe with history and national beauty. Fort McHenry, birthplace of the national anthem, is a short venture (or 3 mile waterfront run) south. A twenty-minute drive east is Patapsco State Park, thick with waterfalls and springtime greenery.

Finally, not only will we celebrate the PSRC membership and its incredible research but we will also honor the legacy of the late Dr. Milton Edgerton. In 1955, Dr. Edgerton and his colleagues created the PSRC and kicked it off in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins. In May 2019 we are returning to Baltimore to celebrate what was started there and take the society to even higher levels of academics, collegiality and networking.

I am very excited for you all to visit Baltimore and explore its offerings. If you have any questions about the city or your visit here, do not hesitate to ask me.

Justin M. Sacks, MD MBA FACS

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Reminder to Donate to the Baronio Fund

The Plastic Surgery Research Council is the pre-eminent research organization in plastic surgery. Those in the field that value research and the role it plays in the specialty also have a special place in their hearts for the Plastic Surgery Research Council. PSRCís Baronio Fund was created years ago as a way to build a corpus of assets and reserves so that the Research Council may ensure the support of its mission to stimulate fundamental research in plastic surgery. Baronio funds can only be used each year for projects devoted to the improvement and access to research in the field, including grants and scholarships, and to the expansion, innovation, and progression of the Baronio mission. The greater the underlying magnitude of the Fund, greater is the PSRCís capacity to impact both the people that do research and the quality of the research being performed in plastic surgery.

The Baronio Fund incorporates various levels of giving. The highest level contributor, the Baronio Patron, amounts to $5,000+ in cumulative donations or more. Other levels of donation include the Gold Patron, Patron and Friend levels.

The PSRC leadership realizes you are asked to contribute to a variety of organizations each year, but ask you to keep the Plastic Surgery Research Council and its Baronio Fund in mind as 2018 comes to a close. You can contribute to the Fund online, or use the donation form which is available for download on the website. You can also email the PSRC administrative office at Note that contributions are tax deductible.

Thank you for your consideration and generosity. If you have already made a contribution in 2018, please accept genuine thanks from the Research Council leadership.

5 Ways to Give $5K to the PSRC Baronio Fund

  1. Make a 1-time donation of $5K
  2. Make a multi-year pledge (i.e. $1,000 over 5 years or $500 over 10 years, etc.)
  3. Make a monthly pledge to be credited automatically from your account
  4. Tribute and memorial gifts
  5. Give a gift of honoraria from an institution or organization

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Mentorship Program:

The PSRC Mentorship Program has grown significantly over the past five years. What started as a small group of 24 matched mentees and mentors has developed into a celebrated program which boasts 35 mentor/mentee pairs for the 2018-2019 cycle.

In May 2018, the first featured talk given by a PSRC member at the annual PSRC Mentorship Reception was Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee who invited the Research Councilís current Chair, Dr. Justin Sacks, to speak with him. Drs. Lee & Sacks spoke to the impact and importance of a mentor/mentee relationship, and provided applicable advice based on their experience. The session was extremely well attended by not only new and existing Mentorship Program participants, but also prospective participants as well, many of whom signed up for the Program immediately after the Mentorship Reception and are currently enrolled for the 2018-2019 cycle.

The Mentorship Committee recently reached out to past participants and 100% of respondents would recommend the program to their friends/colleagues. Itís been said to be an ďOutstanding programĒ and participants are ďProud to be a part of it.Ē If you are interested in participating in 2019-2020 contact Mentors please include a few sentences describing the type of trainee you would like to mentor and the area in which you would be most interested in mentoring someone. Mentees please include a few sentences describing the area in which you would be most interested in being mentored and why.

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New Member Interview: Ted Kung, MD

  1. Ted Kung, MDWhat was your light bulb moment / turning point into research?
    I have been involved in research since my undergraduate years at Case Western Reserve University. At that time, I was operating on rats investigating alterations in the expression of various clock genes in response to cardiac ischemia. I was drawn to research that had the potential to be translated to improve patient care and that desire later guided me to plastic surgery research during medical school. My first plastic surgery papers were published with Arun Gosain who solidified my interest in a career as a surgeon-scientist and supported my applications to academic programs. Once I got to Michigan for residency, there were countless opportunities for surgeons to participate in both clinical and basic science research and Iíve never looked back since.

  2. Who was your inspiration / mentor and how did they inspire you?
    My faculty research mentor as a plastic surgery resident was Paul Cederna. I started doing clinical research as a junior resident and then completed a year of dedicated academic time in the University of Michigan Neuromuscular Lab. I was inspired by how Paul was able to have a full-time clinical practice as a plastic surgeon but at same time was conducting high-quality basic science research developing novel regenerative peripheral nerve interfaces to control neuroprosthetic limbs. I also have to give a lot of credit to two of my friends who were in residency with me: Benjamin Levi and Christopher Pannucci. Ben was a powerhouse in basic science research and obtaining funding even as a resident and he has continued to fuel my drive to conduct laboratory research. Chris was very influential in formulating my interest in research that investigated health-related quality of life and encouraged my desire to perform clinical studies that utilize various patient-reported outcomes measures.

  3. How do you balance being a surgeon and a scientist?
    Itís not easy, but at the end of the day I see research in plastic surgery as something that is just as important as providing patient care. At first, itís a bit daunting but eventually you learn to be efficient and you learn to balance the two each day.

  4. What is the breakdown of your time?
    Sometimes I feel like I am 80% clinical and 80% research! In reality, the breakdown for me changes from week to week and even day to day. There is always a list of to-do tasks in my mind; some of them are clinically-related and others are research-related. I think itís probably rare for surgeon-scientists to truly have ďprotected timeĒ for research so if you find a job that really offers it, donít ever take it for granted.

  5. Surgeon-scientists are incredibly busy. Do you have any tips to maintain a productive and valuable mentorship relationship?
    I actively keep in touch with my mentors and speak to them on a regular basis. In regards to people who are you own mentees, my advice is to pick one or two select individuals only so that you can devote a meaningful amount of time to support and elevate their careers as other have done for you in the past.

  6. What was the greatest challenge you encountered in your research career / research focus?
    I think my greatest challenge was figuring out which research endeavors I wanted to focus on early in my career. Itís easy to diversify too much and because you only have so much time and energy the tendency is to be spread too thin.

  7. What is the best research /career advice you received?
    Bill Kuzon told me that fellowship was extremely valuable and that he thought I would really get along with Peter Neligan. He was right on both accounts. One of the best things Iíve ever done was microsurgery fellowship at the University of Washington. Not only was the experience extremely formative in solidifying my surgical skills and confidence as a microsurgeon, it also spurred a variety of new research interests. Equally important, I made lifelong friendships with the faculty and residents at UW and that is something for which I will always be grateful.

  8. What advice do you have for early career scientists?
    Go to plastic surgery meetings and meet people. Present your work and get noticed. Also, never underestimate the power of a casual 10 minute conversation at a cocktail hour.

  9. How have you become successful?
    Iíve definitely been lucky. But whatever success Iíve had so far I also attribute to good training, dedicated mentors, a support system (inside and outside of medicine), and hard work. I have also learned that a key to success is to surround yourself with people who have qualities that complement your strengths and also bolster your weaknesses.

  10. What do you feel the PSRC represents to surgeon scientists?
    PSRC is a forum where like-minded surgeons and scientists can come together to network, support each other, and discover new things. I am proud to be a member of PSRC and I am truly looking forward to becoming increasingly involved in this fantastic organization for year to come!

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Affiliate Highlights:

First Annual Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progress (FOP) & Traumatic Heterotopic Ossification (HO) Symposium
The PSF National Endowment grant recently funded the First Annual Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progress & Traumatic Heterotopic Ossification Symposium that was held at the University of Michigan. PSRC Member, Ben Levi, summarized the event perfectly.

"Overall, this was an extremely successful event, where the goal was unifying FOP and Traumatic HO scientists and families to advance research toward treatments and a cure for both of these processes. We were lucky to host an impressive array of scientists and surgeon scientists from across the country with a wide variety of backgrounds who all gave informational, inspirational, and focused talks. These talks led to important conversations that we believe will improve the care of our patients in the future. Given the unique set of problems that face these patients and the complex science behind them, we felt bringing a diverse group together was the ideal way to improve their patient care in hopes of discovering a cure."

Combined Pilot Research Grant Ė Due December 1st
The PSRC/PSF Combined Research Grant is accepting application until December 1st, 2018. Follow the link to learn more about the grant and start your application today.

PSF Combined Research Grant Guidelines

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Plastic Surgery Research Council Information
About PSRC
A Brief History of the PSRC by Thomas Davis, MD
A 35-Year History of the PSRC by Peter Randall, MD
The Story of the Baronio Sheep (on the PSRC logo)
PSRC Founding Members
Member Photos
Baronio Fund and Baronio Patrons
PSRC Awards and Past Recipients
Mentorship Program
Lab Directory
Grant Resources
Newsletter archive

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