stem cells

stem cells

USC's Jon-Paul Pepper is a surgeon, scientist, student and award-winner

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USC’s Jon-Paul Pepper is not the average award winner. He’s also not the average facial plastic surgeon, faculty researcher or master’s student — in part, because he’s currently all of these things. At a ceremony held Orlando, Florida, Pepper received the first Research Scholar Award from the Educational and Research Foundation for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS). The award provides two years of funding for his study on reprogramming skin-derived stem cells into nerve grafts for the treatment of facial paralysis. He’s tackling this project in collaboration with cell reprogramming expert Justin Ichida, PhD, assistant professor of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at USC. Pepper — who joined USC’s Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery as an assistant professor in Fall 2013 — specializes in the reconstructive surgery of the face. He believes that stem cells are the future of facial nerve reanimation, and is enrolled in USC’s new master of science in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine program.