Explore This Laboratory


To advance patient care, the Plastic Surgery Clinical Research Program in the Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery leverages surgical innovations, clinical practices and technological developments to improve diagnosis and treatment in plastic surgery.

Our current projects are focused on craniofacial surgery and breast reconstruction. Craniofacial anomalies, such as cleft lip and palate, are among the most common congenital (present at birth) anomalies. Breast cancer, one of the most common cancers to affect adults, may result in a mastectomy, which is often accompanied by breast reconstruction.

Craniofacial Surgery

Our clinical and translational research investigation in craniofacial surgery is directly synergistic to our basic genetics and developmental biology research in the Craniofacial Developmental Biology Laboratory.

Our study leverages the latest advances in:

  • DNA editing (CRISPR)
  • Genomics
  • Novel imaging technology to revolutionize craniofacial care
  • Stem cell biology

The Cleft and Craniofacial Center first engages the patient before birth, where we coordinate prenatal consult as part of the Fetal Care Team with MassGeneral Hospital for Children. As a result of modern technology, we are able to diagnosis craniofacial abnormalities in utero, begin treatment shortly after birth and devise a treatment plan that continues throughout childhood.

We combine their clinical expertise with our fundamental research program to incorporate multidisciplinary and longitudinal care, and follow our patients over time to evaluate outcomes.

The team of health care professionals includes plastic surgeons, oral maxillofacial surgeons, orthodontists, speech therapists and dietitians, allows us to provide the best clinical care and surgical planning for our families.

Breast Reconstruction

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers to affect adults. Our research group has expertise working with direct-to-implant breast reconstruction, with particular interest in safety and efficacy of breast reconstruction outcomes.

Our current studies on breast reconstruction compare different variables such as surgical and patient factors, surgical materials and methods of breast reconstruction. We are proud to be one of the early pioneers of the pre-pectoral breast in direct-to-implant reconstruction. In addition to examining new approaches to reconstruction, we have also evaluated surgical efficacy and practice improvements.

Affiliations and Funding

The Plastic Surgery Clinical Research Program is affiliated with many Mass General departments as well as outside institutions, including:

The Plastic Surgery Clinical Research Program receives funding from outside institutions, including:

Research Projects

The Plastic Surgery Clinical Research Program at Mass General is involved with the following research projects:

Craniofacial Projects

Breast Reconstruction Projects

  • Breast Reconstruction with acellular dermal matrix (ADM) and other surgical biomaterials
  • Pre-pectoral vs. Sub-pectoral Direct to Implant Breast Reconstruction
  • Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction Surgical Instrumentation

Research Positions

Interested in participating?

We accept applications for clinical research from surgery or plastic surgery residency training programs in the United States. Applications are encouraged 18 months in advance of the expected start date in order to compete for various funding mechanisms.

Full time research fellow opportunities may be available for trainees with appropriate experience and interest. A minimum of one year tenure is necessary, two years preferred.

Interested residents should send inquiries to Dr. Liao with cover letter, CV and three letters of reference.


The Plastic Surgery Clinical Research Program at Mass General involved with the following publications:

View recent publications

Support Us

Cleft lip and palate are the most common congenital anomalies, occurring in 1 out of 700 births. As clinical-scientists, we hope our work will one day improve the health of children. With the rapid and revoluntionary advances in genetics, it is our vision to diagnose craniofacial malformations before they develop or mitigate the risk of malformation pharmacologically.

Our research program is focused on the understanding the genetic basis of why children develop clefts of the lip and palate.

Support from you can help us make what was previously unimaginable, possible. There are several opportunities to make a direct impact in the supporting of trainees, investigators and patients through our research and clinical programs. Nothing is more personal and wonderful than making a child better. Fundamental research breakthroughs can have a broader impact, to touch the lives of children and their families everywhere.

Support Us

Group Members

Principal Investigator

Eric C. Liao, MD, PhD
Director, Cleft and Craniofacial Center, Mass General
Associate Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Principal Faculty, Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Principal Investigator, Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Faculty, Program in Genetics, Biomedical and Biological Sciences, Harvard Medical School

Clinical Research Coordinators

  • Kassandra Nealon
  • Megan Rebello


  • Ryan Cauley, MD
  • Edward Kobrei, MD
  • Daniel Roh, MD, PhD

Medical Students

  • Emily Ji- Harvard Medical School
  • Nikhil Sobti– Boston University
  • Rachel Weitzman – Harvard Medical School


  • Ethylin Wang Jabs – Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Daniel MacArthur – Broad Institute of Genetic, Harvard/MIT
  • Yang Chai – University of Southern California
  • Sashank Reddy – Johns Hopkins University


  • David Mattos, MD, MBA – Plastic Surgery Residency, Harvard Program
  • Lisa Gfrerer, MD, PhD – Plastic Surgery Residency, Harvard Program
  • Theo Nyame, MD – Plastic Surgery Research Residency, Harvard Program
  • Lin Lin Gao, MD – University of Pennsylvania Plastic Surgery Residency Program
  • Valeriy Shubinets - University of Pennsylvania Plastic Surgery Residency Program
  • Sashank Reddy, MD, PhD – Johns Hopkins Plastic Surgery Residency Program