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Back row: Bohdan Pomahac, MD, Ericka Bueno, PhD, Branislav Kollar, MD, Miguel Dorante; Front row: Sotirios Tasigiorgos, MD
2020 Winner: Bohdan Pomahac, MD

Director, Strategy and Innovation, Stepping Strong Center
Director, Lower Limb Extremity Transplant Program, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School


Ericka Bueno, PhD
Scientific Director of Plastic Surgery Transplantation, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Branislav Kollar, MD
Research Fellow in Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Miguel Dorante
Research Trainee, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Sotirios Tasigiorgos, MD
Research Fellow in Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital


An Ultraportable Device for Rescuing Limbs

With his initial Stepping Strong Innovator Award grant, Bohdan Pomahac, MD, and his team built a second generation prototype of a portable device that expands the allowed time for replantation of an amputated limb from four to six hours to up to 24 hours. The device was previously used successfully in a series of experiments with animal models, and the team now has data that confirms the applicability on human limbs—a groundbreaking development for patients, first responders, and medical personnel who are faced with a traumatic injury. The additional Stepping Strong funding provides much-needed capital for further development. Pomahac and his team have already identified a potential partner to bring it to market for first responders, military installations, and major hospitals.


Bohdan Pomahac, MD, is the medical director of the Burn Center at BWH, where he and is the Roberta and Stephen R. Weiner Distinguished Chair in Surgery. As a pioneer in the field of VCA transplantation, Pomahac led the teams that performed the second partial face transplant and the first three full face transplant procedures in the U.S. In 2011, the team performed the first successful bilateral upper extremity transplantation in the Northeast. Under Pomahac’s leadership, the BWH VCA transplant team has performed a number of additional face and hand transplants, and expanded research protocols to include lower extremity and abdominal wall transplantation. Pomahac’s research team is currently working on implementation of immunosuppression minimization strategies in clinical trials, development of technology to extend the viability of tissues, and other research topics related to VCA transplantation and plastic surgery.

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