Rutgers University Leadership Paves Way for Breakthrough Medical Research Including Cleveland Clinic’s First Total Face Transplant

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Dr. Joachim Kohn, Rutgers University-New Brunswick Board of Governors Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and Director of the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials
Newswise — NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Less than a decade ago, the U.S. Department of Defense established the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine I (AFIRM I) with a multimillion dollar grant to focus research centered on regenerative medicine for the treatment of battlefield injuries and selected Rutgers University-New Brunswick to lead the civilian research program. Under the leadership of Dr. Joachim Kohn, Rutgers University-New Brunswick Board of Governors Professor in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology department at the School of Arts and Sciences, and director of the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials, the program has made great strides in breakthrough scientific research. One of the most dramatic outcomes is a series of face transplants at the Cleveland Clinic that culminated in a total face transplant in May 2017.

“Before 2008, facial transplants were a novel idea,” said Dr. Kohn, who heads the Rutgers-Cleveland Clinic Consortium (RCCC) within AFIRM and is the Principal Investigator of the Department of Defense contract which made the face transplants possible. “France was the first country to perform the groundbreaking face transplant operation in 2005, and if it hadn’t been for the Department of Defense’s investment, the United States would be far behind the world.” Continue reading
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