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The Plastic Surgery Departments Center for Tissue Engineering (CTE) laboratory focuses on creating innovative new medical devices, the use of acellular and cellular matrices, analysis of inflammatory signaling mediators related to burn injuries, oxygenated wound healing solutions and cartilage framework development. Most projects have adipose derived stem cells as the central focus for the cellular work with multiple projects emanating from this core focus.

All projects and protocols are designed with a translational bias with relatively low barriers of entry to the market place. In conjunction with our academic partners, in the main, biomedical engineers, many projects involve the design of medical devices to serve these translational purposes.

Thus CTE is actively involved in the following projects:

  • Stress induction of adipose lipoaspirate to yield high proportions of progenitor cells useful for fat graft enrichment (reconstruction, breast etc, aesthetic indications) and for therapeutic autologous use in diabetic foot ulceration and wound healing. The stress induction device has been designed in conjunction with Haun laboratory (BME, UCI)
  • Measurement of acute inflammatory mediators in the first 48hrs of an acute burn injury (in the burn wound fluid) creating a baseline diagnostic (SPoTT – signaling profile of thermal trauma) for measuring accuracy of therapeutics. A device has been designed for fluid collection in conjunction with BME collaborators
  • Development of ‘bubbled’ oxygenated solution for use in wound healing, tissue transplantation storage solution, acute major trauma injuries and in vitro laboratory settings for increasing exposure to oxygenated solutions. Device designed for oxygen generation in collaboration with BME
  • Collaborative partnership with Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF) exploring the use of acellular adipose derived matrices in fat generation, wound healing and tissue engineered frameworks.
  • Generation of cartilage engineered frameworks using unique adipose derived matrices, chondrocytes and adipose derived stem cells. Collaborative effort with MTF, RapidTech BME, UCI (3-D printing) and Lakey laboratory.

Our robust research program involves undergraduate, post-graduate and experienced researchers working on a wide range of exciting and unique research projects.

If you are affiliated with a research institution interested in collaborative opportunities or would like more information about the Department of Plastic Surgery’s CTE research projects, please contact:

Alan Widgerow, MBBCh, FCS, MMed, FACS
Director, Center for Tissue Engineering
Department of Plastic Surgery
UC Irvine Health School of Medicine

Professor Widgerow completed his undergraduate and post-graduate studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He was the top surgical graduate at the University of Witwatersrand in 1989. He has held various positions in numerous academic and professional associations, including that of President of the Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery of Southern Africa (APRSSA). He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and was appointed Honorary Professor by the Senate of Wits University in 1999. He is author of more than 110 plastic surgical-related publications and two books. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of “Wound Healing Southern Africa.” He was also the founder and medical director of eleven wound clinics in South Africa. His current fields of interest are translational basic science research, medical device innovations, tissue engineering and wound healing.

After twenty years in private plastic surgical practice in South Africa, Prof Widgerow relocated to Irvine, California in Dec. 2009, to pursue his interests in research, medical device innovations and wound care, but he still plays an active role in academic medicine worldwide. In August 2012, he joined the University of California Irvine Plastic Surgery Division as Clinical Professor and Director of the Laboratory of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (TERM). He has redesigned and introduced major research projects to the TERM Lab and has entered submissions on multiple Grant proposals. He has recruited a team of fifteen researchers and runs a vibrant, dynamic research facility at UCIMC.


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If you wish to make a gift donation, please contact:

Phone: 714-456-5253

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