|PSRC News: Fall 2019|
I am extremely grateful for the support provided by the Plastic Surgery Foundation through the National Endowment for Plastic Surgery (NEPS) award, which has allowed me to spend one year of dedicated research under the mentorship of Dr. Benjamin Levi in the Burn/Wound/Regeneration Medicine Laboratory at the University of Michigan. During this time, I conducted research focusing on the role of inflammation in the formation of heterotopic ossification (HO). HO is a condition that is commonly encountered in patients following severe burn injuries, combat trauma or after routine operative procedures (e.g. hip replacements) which can lead to high patient morbidity and diminished quality of life. Treatment is extremely challenging due limited modalities and high recurrence rates posing an unexplored research opportunity. Using a previously established animal model of trauma induced HO we were able to characterize the inflammatory response and identify pathophysiologic pathways through which inflammation promotes HO. With NEPS funding we were able to employ cutting edge technology, including high throughput single cell RNA sequencing that facilitated the identification of previously unreported mesenchymal stem cells and macrophage subpopulations which are critical in the disease process. Finally, we demonstrated the efficacy of a novel therapeutic target that effectively decreased HO formation.
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|Obtaining the NEPS grant has been invaluable in my pathway to becoming a surgeon scientist. It provided for an opportunity to further my skills in basic science, developing research ideas, and networking with other investigators. The collaboration with experts in the field and multi-disciplinary research scientists allowed for diversification and enrichment of the research content. I am hopeful to utilize the knowledge and experience acquired during my academic development time to pursue my future independent research goals. Having had this opportunity as a resident will be instrumental in the transition to an academic position and establishing my own research laboratory.|