Applied and Translational Science Research

The Department of Plastic Surgery's applied research lab is named Tissue Regeneration and Molecular Cell Engineering Lab or TRAMCEL. Multi- and Inter- disciplinary research is conducted by coupling a wide array of disciplines such as biomedical engineering, biophysics, and nanotechnology principals applied towards reconstructive plastic surgery. The following provides an overview of research highlights.

Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering

Repairing and regenerating tissues damaged or resected due to cancer through the coupling of engineering, clinical science and life sciences. Focus areas are described as follows:

  • Bone regeneration to repair mandible and midface defects resulting from head and neck cancer
  • Adipose tissue engineering to repair soft tissue defects resulting from tumor resection and restore the breast mound following mastectomy and lumpectomy due to breast cancer
  • Musculofascia regeneration to repair defects in the abdominal wall musculofascia
  • Trachea tissue engineering to repair partial and circumferential tracheal defects resulting from head and neck cancer
  • Tissue engineered regeneration of skin and epithelium and their application to tissue flap reconstruction


Nanomedicine and NanoTherapy

Repairing damaged tissues and treating and detecting cancer by developing medical interventions at the molecular scale that couples nanotechnology, clinical science and the life sciences. Focus areas are:

  • Developing innovative delivery strategies to increase efficacy of delivered therapy via degradable and targeted nano-carriers and localizing delivery via tissue flap therapy
  • Biocompatible quantum dots for in vivo imaging of vasculature
  • Modulation of molecular events to control cell processes, such as angiogenesis, and bone regeneration, such as silencing RNA therapy
  • In vivo guidance of micro-vasculature at the nanoscale. The ultimate goal is to develop or provide fully functional blood vessel networks within tissue engineered constructs and autologous tissue flaps and grafts


Engineered Biologics

Engineering design of novel natural, biologically derived or hybrid materials from the sub-molecular scale up to patient-specific geometry in order to control cell-material interactions, biomechanics, vascularization and the in vivo release of therapeutic agents, thereby engineering the process of regeneration for repair and reconstruction of cancer patients. Focus areas include:

  • Development of biologically derived biopolymers to control degradation, remodeling and reformation of new viable tissues
  • Novel therapeutic scaffolds for controlled delivery of anti-cancer agents and factors for tissue regeneration and repair
  • Engineering self assembly of nano-structures in three-dimensions to provide molecular control per patient specific design


Computational Modeling

Application of data-analytical methods, mathematical modeling and computational simulation techniques to the design and optimization of three-dimensional tissue regenerative platform. This interdisciplinary research combines computational, theoretical and experimental biology, physiology, material science and engineering. Focus areas include engineering three-dimensional scaffolds, cellular response to microenvironment, and cellular and tissue biomechanics.





The funding for the research is actively obtained and maintained from various extramural sources such as the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation, Department of Defense, Gillson-Logenbaugh Foundation, Anderson Foundation and Kyte Fund.


  • Donald P. Baumann, M.D. 
  • Elisabeth K. Beahm, M.D. 
  • Charles E. Butler, M.D. 
  • David W. Chang, M.D. 
  • Melissa A. Crosby, M.D. 
  • Matthew M. Hanasono, M.D. 
  • Steven J. Kronowitz, M.D. 
  • Anshu B. Mathur, Ph.D. 
  • Scott Oates, M.D. 
  • Gregory P. Reece, M.D. 
  • Justin Sacks, M.D. 
  • Roman Skoracki, M.D. 
  • Mark Villa, M.D. 
  • Peirong Yu, M.D.


Micquelyn Titus
Senior Administrative Assistant
Tissue Regeneration and Molecular Cell Engineering Labs (TRAMCEL)
Department of Plastic Surgery
Office Phone: 713-563-7566
Fax: 713-563-0231