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Plastic Surgery Division News

Dr. L. Scott Levin, The Paul B. Magnuson Professor and Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, was the first Elvin G. Zook MD Visiting Professor.  He presented a talk on upper extremity reconstruction on Friday, August 29, 2014 in Springfield, IL to the SIU orthopaedic and plastic surgery residents and faculty as well as members of the SIU hand transplant team. 
Dr. Levin is an accomplished clinical whose expertise focuses on upper extremity reconstruction.  His research interests focus predominantly on extremity soft tissue reconstruction and composite tissue allotransplantation.  Dr. Levin is the head of the newly formed Penn Hand Transplant Program and in September 2011 he directed the team that performed a bi-lateral hand and arm transplant. 


Mrs. Alan Birtch recently gave Surgery Department Chair Dr. Michael Neumeister a signed copy of a book written by plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph E. Murray who pioneered the field of organ transplantation. A long-time member of the Harvard Medical School faculty, Murray was honored with the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1990, has given the gift of life to hundreds of thousands of people destined to die young. Dr. Alan Birtch trained under Dr. Murray and went on to establish the kidney/pancreas transplant program at SIU School of Medicine and Memorial Medical Center. Dr. Neumeister, also professor and chair of the Institute for Plastic Surgery, has recently embarked on establishing a hand transplant program at SIU and Memorial Medical Center, using many of the principles of transplantation medicine.

Maria Ansley - Winner of ASPS Award

Maria Ansley was named the Winner by the ASPS for the BRA Day Double Loop Ribbon Contest. This award was awarded to the person or group who could execute the most creative use of the BRA Day double ribbon to display via VINE, an app that lets you record and share a 6-second looping video. The winner received $5,000 towards the planning of their 2014 BRA Day event.














SIU Med School Receives National Grant to Study Fat Grafting in Breast Reconstruction

A resident physician at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield has been awarded a two-year federal grant from the Plastic Surgery Foundation to study fat grafting in breast cancer treatment and reconstruction. The grant has a budget of $47,223.

Dr. Abigail Cochran, a fourth-year plastic surgery resident physician in the Department of Surgery, is the principal investigator for the project.

Fat grafting is an integral part of breast reconstruction in cancer patients, but there is concern about the cancer-stimulation potential of stem cells in fat. This research will look at stem cells in fat and provide a better understanding of their effects on tumor growth. It will also examine whether tumor growth can be decreased by using gene therapy with the fat grafting. 

The research uses human fat extracted during liposuction, which is taken to the lab and cultured with human breast cancer cells. Researchers will measure the tumor growth to determine how the fat affects the cancer cells. The fat also is genetically engineered with a virus that attacks cancer cells to decrease the tumor. Results of the study will help improve understanding of the risks associated with fat grafting for cancer patients.

This is the third national grant awarded for Cochran’s research, which is focused on stem cell transplantation in breast cancer reconstruction.

Cochran began her residency at SIU in 2010. She earned her medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee (2010) and her bachelor’s degree from Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y. (2005). She is a native of Elm Grove, Wis.


SIU Department Chair Dr. Michael Neumeister performed hand and wrist exams on more than 150 people at Memorial's Women's Be Aware Fair.  Several SIU doctors were available to perform free screenings and provide health information.