Basic Science

CURRENT PROJECTS IN BASIC SCIENCE IN THE DIVISION OF PLASTIC SURGERY

Soft Tissue Coverage of Tissue Engineered Bone
This project focuses on optimal soft tissue coverage for tissue engineered bone created from fat- and craniofacial bone-derived stem cells. The tissue engineered bone is being created in the laboratory of collaborators at North Carolina State University. The soft tissue is being harvested from children undergoing craniofacial procedures, including cleft lip and palate repair. The goal of the project is to provide robust soft tissue coverage of the tissue engineered bone.

Umbilical Cord Blood Derived Stem Cell Growth on Nanofibers
Umbilical cord blood is the largest untapped source of embryonic-like stem cells. Nanofibers are small fibers (between 10 and 1000 nanometers) made from a variety of biodegradable natural and synthetic compounds. The goal of this project is to grow stem cells on nanofiber scaffolds for engineering of multiple tissue types.

Heterotopic Ossification in Burn Patients
Burn patients are at risk for developing heterotopic ossification (bone at ectopic sites), with the elbow being a predictable site for this bone formation. The cause of heterotopic ossification is not known. The goal of this project is to identify the molecular reasons that heterotopic ossification occurs in burn patients at the elbow. To understand this process may help eliminate heterotopic ossification in burn patients, and more importantly, may help us improve bone growth in areas where bone is absent.