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At the URMC Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, we strive to not only treat disease, but to also conduct innovative research that both advances knowledge and translates our discoveries into meaningful solutions for our patients. Biomedical research within our division encompasses opportunities in basic science and clinical research.

The research mission of the Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency Program is accomplished within the context of the University of Rochester’s peer review-funded basic science and clinical research programs. The University of Rochester ranks in the top third of medical schools with NIH peer review grant funding. All of our residents are strongly encouraged to participate at a significant level in research projects, and the residency program is structured to accommodate this high level of participation. Your academic work as a result of this project is expected to be submitted to a national meeting for presentation, as well as developed into a manuscript to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. In preparing such a project, residents are supervised and assisted by a member of the teaching faculty. Research meetings are held six times a year to conceptualize new projects, discuss the progression of existing projects and to review grant and fellowship applications. At the end of each academic year in June, the Resident Research Day is scheduled. This provides the opportunity for our residents to showcase their work to the division and invited Alumni.

Current Research Interests

  • Facial paralysis and peripheral nerve, including the study of peripheral nerve regeneration and ways to enhance nerve regeneration; etiology and treatment of Bell’s palsy; and using dMRI and an automated facial symmetry index as prognostic tools for facial paralysis patients.
  • Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation, including translational research investigating the role the lymphatic system plays in inducing partial chimerism.
  • Breast Reconstruction, including analysis of outcomes for both implant-based and autologous-based reconstruction.
  • Burn related research, including etiology of burns and outcomes from patient care.
  • Hand disorders related research, including outcomes from patient care.
  • Craniofacial disorders related research, including outcomes from patient care. 

Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory

The Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory was established in 2018 and is under the direction of Dr. Leckenby. The research is primarily focused on basic science and each year there is an opportunity for a research fellow to work in the lab. During the year the fellow will become familiar with techniques utilized in the lab and microsurgical skill development. Financial support is provided for conference registration, travel and accommodation.

Residency-Integrated Microsurgery Course

In 2019 the Residency-Integrated Microsurgery Course was introduced. The course provides residents with one-on-one microsurgical training with faculty over a two-month period that progresses from the basic principles of microsurgery to in vivo simulation. Residents have access to an operative surgical microscope to practice and hone their skills.

Research Fellows

2020-21: Laura Reed

Research Fellows

Previous Research Fellows

2019-20: Scott Echternacht
2018-19: Miranda Chacon, Alap Patel, Drew Mitchel


W.G. Stuber Fellowship 
University of Rochester
07/01/2020 – 06/30/2021
The William G. Stuberfund was established in 1984 through a gift to the University of Rochester by  Marjorie (Mrs.  Merritt) Cleveland  and  her brother, W. James Stuber, in memory of their father, a former chairman of the board, Eastman Kodak Company. The fund provides support annually to an outstanding young faculty member in recognition of unusual promise for valuable contributions in an academic career.

Delmonte UR CABIN
University of Rochester
06/01/2019 – 3/31/2021
Utilizing dMRI to track the intracranial course of the facial nerve. Determine whether dMRI can be used to identify facial nerve lesions in Bell’s palsy.

University of Rochester
06/01/2019 –3/31/2021
Pilot Grant through the Pilot Projects of the CMSR P30 Center Grant. Development of a murine model to investigate scar formation within the regenerating nervous system. Establish a murine model of superior nerve regeneration using MRL/MpJ mice.


  • 2019-20: ASRM Medical Student Research Grant (S. Echternacht)
  • 2019: PSRC Article of the month (November)
  • 2019: ASPS Best Presentation in the Resident Breast Reconstruction (H. Smith)
  • 2019: AAPS Cannon Student Scholarship (A. Patel)