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Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Research

Following removal of cancerous tumors or severe burns, proper skin reconstruction—especially on the face—remains a significant clinical challenge. The Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery faculty are developing a unique skin-in-a-dish model that could impact facial reconstructive surgery; they are also studying craniofacial development. Current skin-grafting practices use skin without hair follicles, sweat glands or pigmentation cells–necessary components for skin function, thermoregulation and appearance. Ongoing research look to generate all skin structures within a single cell bundle the size of a poppy seed, known as a skin organoid. Upcoming experiments explore ways to reconstruct normal skin using organoids and 3D bio-printing.