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The Gosain Plastic Surgery and Craniofacial Biology Laboratory is using a porcine model to study how tissue deformation impacts cell responsiveness and adaptation to stress, how these microscopic events relate to growth at the tissue level, and to predict this adaptation through computational modeling. This study will allow us to expand our understanding of tissue expansion, a common technique for breast reconstruction in post-mastectomy breast cancer patients. Additionally, the lab is using a zebrafish model and primary cell culture to study the mechanisms behind craniosynostosis, a condition in which the bones of the cranial vault fuse prematurely. The goal of this study is to increase our understanding of the genetic determinants of craniosynostosis.
Current Research Projects
Prediction of human scarring following reconstructive surgery through the integration of multiscale modeling and machine learning
The purpose of this research is to identify the mechanisms by which tissue expansion induces skin growth in order to predict and control this process. Sub-optimal expansion can result in poor breast shape as well as implant exposure, which can lead to infection, patient pain, re-operation for implant removal, and delays until the administration of adjuvant (chemo or radiation) therapy. The ideal protocol for tissue expansion would minimize postoperative visits for fill, minimize pain, and shorten the expansion period. The data that we are collecting from our porcine model will be the basis of a new multi-scale computational model that can predict long-term growth and remodeling of skin in response to stretch. Our team has complementary expertise in 3D imaging, breast reconstruction, mathematical modeling, skin mechanics and molecular biology.
The effect of acellular dermal matrix and radiation on tissue expansion
The purpose of this research is to understand the effects of radiation and acellular dermal matrix (ADM) on tissues undergoing expander-based reconstruction. ADM is a soft connective tissue graft that serves as a support for the generation of a stronger layer of tissue than what would have developed in the absence of ADM. The findings of this study will help clinicians improve treatment protocols for patients who have undergone surgical removal of some or all of their breast tissue. We are the first to quantify tissue deformation and growth of skin together with microscopic structural and cell behavioral changes in a large animal model. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive picture of tissue expansion in the radiated setting that has not been provided to date.
The zebrafish model of craniosynostosis
Craniosynostosis (CS), premature fusion of one or multiple sutures, affects 3 to 5 individuals per 100,00 live births and presents a significant social and medical burden. CS causes dysmorphic cranial vault development and facial asymmetry and often associates with increased intracranial pressure, learning disabilities, visual impairment, deafness, and deficits in cognitive development. We have designed a collaborative project that aims to identify the genetic determinants of both syndromic and non-syndromic CS.