American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Research Center

The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) has established a Research Center that will educate surgeons on the process of conducting quality research while providing funding to complete the essential research that will meet the needs of the specialty.

This includes providing to members academic training in the principles of clinical and basic science research design, research management and statistical analysis as well as expanding capacity to conduct clinical and basic science research to provide scientifically based evidence to support treatment decisions and recommendations. The goal is for the Educational and Research Foundation for the AAFPS to provide a world class Research Center for members and industry to collaborate while discovering opportunities to improve patient care.

There are several opportunities for members to apply for funding to further their education in the area of research or to receive financial support to conduct research.

In addition to the Leslie Bernstein Grants Program and the existing Awards program, the Foundation has established a series of Clinical Research funding opportunities to encourage members to become involved in research to benefit the specialty of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

2015 Grant and Scholarship Recipients

Leslie Bernstein Grants

The Educational and Research Foundation for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is pleased to announce this year’s awardees for the Bernstein Grant Program. The Leslie Bernstein Grants Program is generously funded by an endowment from Leslie Bernstein, MD, DDS. The program is coordinated by the Research Committee of the Educational and Research Foundation for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the Centralized Otolaryngology Research Efforts (C.O.R.E.). There are three grants available through the program:

  1. The Bernstein Grant.The purpose of the grant is to encourage original research projects which will advance facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. A $25,000 grant may be awarded annually to an Academy Member. Grants may be used as seed money for research projects.
  2. The Investigator Development Grant. The purpose of the Investigator Development Grant is to support the work of a young faculty member in facial plastic surgery conducting significant clinical or laboratory research and involved in the training of resident surgeons in research. One $15,000 grant may be awarded each year.
  3. Resident Research Grant. The purpose of the Resident Research Grant is to stimulate resident research in projects that are well-conceived and scientifically The resident grant is a $5,000 award given to residents who are AAFPRS members.

The recipient of the Bernstein Grant for 2015 is Jacqueline Greene, MD. Dr. Greene is a resident at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. Her study “Facial Nerve Nanoengineering and Regeneration” will provide a quantitative electrophysiologic, histological and structural evaluation of nanofiber neurograft for the acutely and chronically injured facial nerve, and compare it to the clinical gold-standard of autografting.

This year the Foundation is presenting two individuals with the Resident Research Grant. Each will be acknowledged at the 2015 Fall Meeting in Dallas, TX in October.

Robert Brody, MD – Dr. Brody is a resident at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. His research project is titled “Optimizing Cartilage Autografts in Septorhinoplasty.” The purpose of this study is to characterize the effects of manipulations on cell viability, cell stress, and temporally assess both anabolic and catabolic protein expression.

Joseph Bayer Vella, II, MD – Dr. Vella is a resident at Rochester University in Rochester, NY. His project is titled “Craniofacial Reconstruction via 3D Printing and Mesenchymal Stem Cells.” The current gold standard for craniofacial reconstruction of critical osseous defects is the free tissue transfer autograft. Long operative times and intensive post-operative monitoring is compounded by significant risk of failure (3-15%) and donor site morbidity (9-21%). To mitigate these risks, Dr. Vella proposes a tissue engineering approach for osteogenic regeneration that recapitulates the dynamic osteogenic activity of the periosteum and its resident mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).

2015 Research Center Awards

The Foundation is pleased to announce the awardees of the 2015 Research Center Awards. The Many Faces of Generosity campaign provided funding to expand the research efforts among its members and as such has established two grants and a scholarship.

  1. Research Scholar Award is a $30,000 grant presented annually and renewable for an additional two years. It is given to the candidates that demonstrate the potential to make a significant contribution to the profession of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and will make meaningful contributions to the field.
  2. The Facial Plastics Clinical Research Scholarship is a $15,000 contribution intended to provide financial support to AAFPRS members to pursue academic training in the principles of clinical research design, data management, statistical analysis, and manuscript and grant preparation.
  3. The AAFPRS Clinical Investigation Award is presented for smaller projects to be awarded to those surgeons who don’t normally participate in research projects but have smaller, meaningful projects that could contribute to facial plastic surgery. These grants are meant to foster continued contribution from members to the field of facial plastic surgery. A grant of $2,500 is available.

Lamont Jones, MD is the Foundation’s recipient of the 2015 Research Scholar Award. Dr. Jones is Vice Chair of the Henry Ford Health System’s Otolaryngology Departments in Detroit, MI. The objective of his study, “Assessing the Role of AHNAK Methylation in Keloid Pathogenesis”, is to investigate whether a hypermethylated AHNAK gene is involved in the pathogenesis of keloids, and whether it may serve as a potential target for treatment of keloids.

Grant S.Hamilton, III, MD has received the 2015 AAFPRS Clinical Investigation Award for his project “Comparison of Electospun Scaffolds for In-Vitro Cartilage Growth.” Dr. Hamilton and his research team plan to pursue in vitro and in vivo animal studies of cartilage regeneration using adipose stem cells with a goal to build on this knowledge and use it to augment current techniques in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

John Paul Pepper, MD has been approved for a second year of funding from the Foundation’s Research Scholar Award. Dr. Pepper is an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California-Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, CA. His project “Peripheral Nerve Grafts Engineered from Mature Human Fibroblasts” is a two year, in vitro study that seeks to engineer a viable nerve graft from mature human skin fibroblasts through the use of induced pluripotent stem cells. Dr. Pepper was the Foundation’s first Research Scholar Award recipient in 2014.

In addition, David A Shaye, MD was presented with the AAFPRS Clinical Research Scholarship for year two of his studies.  Dr. Shaye is receiving this scholarship for the second year in a row and is seeking his degree through the Harvard School of Public Health with an ultimate goal of applying the skills to the field of global surgery research.