Overview

Dr. Scott Hultman focuses on burn, breast and abdominal wall reconstruction. Clinical projects related to these interests include management of hot-press hand injuries, pathophysiology of electrical injury, neuropsychiatric sequellae of burn injury, the development of skin substitutes, and the use of biologic materials in breast and abdominal wall reconstruction.  Other research interests, related to the business of academic healthcare, include improving access and efficiency, optimizing patient throughput, leveraging human capital to enhance the patient value chain, and entrepreneurship in healthcare organizations.

Dr. Clara Lee is interested in understanding how patients and providers make decisions about surgery and how those decisions relate to variations in surgical practice. Her research combines elements of medical decision making, health behavior, and health services research.

Dr. John van Aalst focuses on craniofacial reconstruction, and studies refinements of surgical techniques within the discipline of cleft palate repair. He has a basic science laboratory which is studying the use of nanofibers and umbilical cord-derived stem cells for the reconstruction of bone.  Dr. Van Aalst is also conducting a study of medical teaching and learning styles.

Dr. Lynn Damitz, who has a special interest in breast aesthetic and reconstructive surgery, is involved in a multicenter project evaluating the long term safety profile and outcomes in women with silicone breast implants.  She is also involved in clinical research focusing on dermal matrices.

In terms of international and local communities, UNC Plastic Surgery is actively involved in promoting the welfare of challenges of underserved communities.  Dr. Lee leads an effort to prevent injury and improve treatment of road injuries in Malawi.  Dr. van Aalst collaborates with local and international surgeons in cleft palate operations in the West Bank.  Dr. Hultman has taught laparoscopic surgery in Nicaragua and is currently developing an exchange program with the Cherokee Indian Health Service, in the state of North Carolina.