Although clinical application of peripheral nerve reconstruction has expanded greatly in application and technique over the last 30 years, the basic science of nerve healing remains largely undefined. The basic science laboratory of Jonathan Cheng, M.D., is focused on investigating strategies for improvement of peripheral nerve regeneration. He and his team are seeking tissue-engineered strategies for the reconstruction of long nerve gap peripheral defects (those that measure greater than 3 cm in length).
Because evidence, clinical and otherwise, has shown that hollow tubular structures are not able to conduct axons beyond this distance, research at the Department of Plastic Surgery is seeking to provide the necessary microarchitecture, molecular cues, and cellular content in order to overcome this ubiquitous clinical challenge.
Other ongoing research at the Department of Plastic Surgery in the area of nerve biology includes: