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Reza Abdi, MD, second from the left, with Audrey Epstein Reny, collaborator and Stepping Strong Research Scholar Dennis Orgill, MD, PhD, and benefactor Timothy Diggins
2016 Winner: Reza Abdi, MD

Transplant Nephrologist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School


Ali Khademhosseini, PhD
Bioengineer, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Professor, Harvard Medical School

Dennis Orgill, MD, PhD
Medical Director, Wound Care Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Professor, Harvard Medical School


New hope for trauma patients with severe burn injuries

One of the primary goals in managing burn wounds is early wound closure—a critically important procedure that can prevent burn patients from dehydration, infection, and death. However, the process of effectively closing wounds remains a challenging practice. Using skin grafts from a patient’s own body is the best approach, but that is often not possible with severe burn patients. Patients universally reject cadaveric skin. To solve for this, Abdi and his team have developed an innovative approach to creating skin allografts for burn patients. Using an implantable bioactive gel embedded with mesenchymal stem cells that suppress rejection, the team plans to microengineer off-the-shelf, ready-to-use implantable skin. This advanced technology will allow for rapid closure of wounds, which in turn will help to shorten hospital stays and, most importantly, improve survival rates.


Reza Abdi, MD, is a transplant nephrologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Abdi did his residency at the University of Pennsylvania and completed his renal fellowship at BWH. The Abdi lab is an inter- and multidisciplinary research group with interest in conducting basic and translational studies to identify novel therapeutic and diagnostic strategies to improve the outcome of transplantation. Among his numerous honors are the AST Basic Scientist Award, presented by the American Society of Transplantation in 2011, and the Advancing Research in Transplantation Science (ARTS) Award, presented by Pfizer Inc. in 2012.

Stepping Strong Innovator Awards Recipients to Advance Bone Healing, Burn Care

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