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Wesley Thayer

Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering



Biomedical Engineering (secondary)


Research Focus

My lab focuses on translational research including wounds, hand surgery, and nerve repair strategies to improve outcomes after injury. We have published multiple peer reviewed publications focusing on these techniques. Our Lab is funded through a collaborative DOD grant with AxogenTM Corporation. Our most recent grant includes industry funding to studying bio scaffolds for use as a nerve scaffold. We are also playing a role in the advancement of techniques to enhance recovery of acutely injured nerves including axonal outgrowth augmentation strategies and axonal fusion strategies. In our animal models, we are able to assess interventions ability to foster improvement and optimize those strategies that may translatable to clinical application. Our treatment strategies have applications for trauma patients, oncology patients, and in composite tissue transplantation. At present I am motivated to participate in both bench and clinical research. To that end, I direct the Vanderbilt arm of the Multicenter Retrospective Study of Avance™ Nerve Graft Utilization, Evaluations and Outcomes in Peripheral Nerve Injury Repair, or RANGER study and completed a trial for  evaluation of Xiaflex™ in treatment of Dupuytren’s contractures. Our most recent human trial involves using MRI based diffusion tensor tractography to evaluate individual axonal recovery after human nerve injury. We have built an infrastructure at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to efficiently and accurately assess strategies to augment nerve repair at the cellular level with our in vitro models, at the surgical level with our animal models, and translate these strategies to the clinic via IRB approved clinical trials.