Samuel Lin, MD, MBA

Associate Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School 


Program Director, BIDMC/Harvard Medical School Plastic Surgery Residency

Research Group

Austin D. Chen
Sabine A. Egeler, MD
Anna Rose Johnson, BA, MPH
Masoud Malyar, MD
Abbas Peymani, MD

Research Focus

Over the past year, my focus continues to be both basic and clinical research across a spectrum of disciplines in plastic and reconstructive surgery. These are collaborative projects utilizing the expertise and experiences of scientists, engineers, and clinicians. Our main collaborators include: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tufts University, Massachusetts General Hospital/Wellman Center for Photomedicine, and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Electrochemical activation and inhibition of neuromuscular systems with modulation of ion concentrations using ion-selective membranes

This project is a collaborative effort with MIT since 2008. Our pilot data was published in Nature Materials on October 2011. The primary focus of our work is the development of an electrochemical nerve stimulation and blocking method via local modulation of ion concentrations at the peripheral nerve surface using a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) device. Our goal is to fabricate innovative neuroprosthetic devices that can reduce the threshold for nerve stimulation to aid in paralysis/paresis and/or block nerve firing to reduce pain for conditions such as facial nerve paralysis, chronic pain, and nerve dysfunction syndromes.

Use of silk-based orthopedic devices to modulate healing

This project is a collaborative effort with scientists and engineers at Tufts University in which we are developing degradable silk protein-based orthopedic devices (screws and plates). Our pilot data was published in Nature Communications on March 2014. These devices may be able to provide immediate surgical stabilization for orthopedic repair, promote active repair, and reduce infections by releasing therapeutics, and also be fully degrading, avoiding the need for future surgeries for removal.

Use of novel oxygen-sensing paint-on liquid bandage for tissue oxygenation monitoring

This project is a collaborative effort with the Wellman Center for Photomedicine/Massachusetts General Hospital in which we are developing a novel oxygen-sensing paint-on liquid bandage (see Figure 1) for use in perioperative tissue oxygenation monitoring following microvascular free tissue reconstruction. Our pilot animal model data was published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery on July 2017, and we have since conducted a first in-human trial. This technology may be able to address limitations of the gold standard in tissue oxygenation monitoring. It has potential to improve flap failure rates by providing timely and accurate data to guide decision-making.

3D printing in plastic surgery

We have been also focused on other applications of 3D printing, e.g. 3D printed surgical tools for use in plastic surgery either through customized implants or surgical planning. Potential applications in regards to our other basic science research include the use of 3D printing for production of silk screws and plates.

Outcomes research in plastic surgery

We also have an active clinical research group examining outcomes, techniques, and patient satisfaction following reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgery procedures, including the head and neck, breast, and abdominal areas. Using large institutional databases at BIDMC, as well as national databases from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP), Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), we have been able to explore risk factors that lead to complications, trends over time, healthcare disparities, and cost analysis.

Accomplishments 2016-2017

Over the last year, I have been focused upon the continued development of medical devices that derive from our research in electrical stimulation and neural blocking, bioresorbable devices, and oxygen-sensing paint-on liquid bandage.

I served as a grant reviewer of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, ZonMW, and Small Business, National Institutes of Health, Musculoskeletal Oral and Skin Sciences (NIH/MOSS).

I continued writing plastic and reconstructive surgery books, atlases, and books chapters, with recent projects in the past year being:

  • Lee M, Lin SJ. Scapular/Parascapular Cutaneous Flaps. In: Butler C, Hanasono M, editors. Handbook of Reconstructive Flaps. Submitted August 2016
  • Xu G, Hwang P, Lin SJ. Rhinoplasty. In Orgill D, editor. Scientific American Plastic Surgery. Submitted August 2016
  • Irizarry D, Lin SJ. Plastic Surgery. In Jones D, editor, Pocket Surgery. In press, July 2017

My editorial activities include continuing to serve as Academic Editor of Public Library of Science (PLoS One), Associate Editor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and Associate Editor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery-Global Open. I was recently selected to serve as Section Editor for the Outcomes Section in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

I also continued as ad hoc reviewer for: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Annals of Plastic Surgery, The Laryngoscope, Microsurgery, Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, Head and Neck, International Journal of Surgery Case Reports, and the International Journal of Surgery.

I was also an invited speaker at a number of regional, national, and international meetings.

  • 2016; Nomination, Daniel D Federer Teaching Award (Harvard Medical School)
  • 2016; MCACS Annual Meeting Commission on Cancer Best Manuscript Award
  • 2017; Association of Surgeons in Training/Otolaryngology Trainees Manuscript (ASiT/AOT) Award
  • 2017; Association of Surgeons in Training/Plastic Surgery Trainees Association Manuscript (ASiT/PLASTA) Prize
  • 2017; Joseph E. Murray Manuscript Award Recipient, New England Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • 2017; Best International Collaboration – Bronze, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery-Global Open

Teaching, Training, and Education

I have been training medical students, general surgery, and plastic surgery residents, clinical and research fellows for the past 10 years at BIDMC. Currently, I serve as the Program Director of the BIDMC/Harvard Medical School Plastic Surgery Residency Program. In this role, I oversee the medical education and experience of residents who rotate on plastic surgery, organizing a microsurgery lab for the residents and presenting on a range of topics for didactics. I am also the co-director of the Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Fellowship. In addition to my work with fellows and residents, I help mentor medical students from Harvard Medical School (HMS) and other U.S. and international medical schools.

Selected Research Support

Degradable Orthopedic Hardware; NIH/NIAMS, 2015-2020; Co-PI: Samuel J. Lin, MD

Medical 3D Printing; Defense Logistics Agency and Triton Systems, Inc., SBIR Phase 1, 2016-2017; Expert Consultant: Samuel J. Lin, MD

Severe Trauma Female Simulation Training System; Defense Health Program and Triton Systems, Inc., SBIR Phase 1, 2016-2017; Expert Consultant: Samuel J. Lin, MD

Lateral Canthotomy and Cantholysis Training System; Defense Health Program (DHP) and Triton Systems, Inc., SBIR Phase 1 and 2, 2017-2019; Expert Consultant: Samuel J. Lin, MD 

Selected Publications

Branford O, Kamali P, Rohrich RJ, Song DH, Mallucci P, Liu DZ, Lang D, Sun K, Stubican M, Lin SJ. #PlasticSurgery. Plast Reconstr Surg 2016;138(6):1354-1365.

Li C, Hotz B, Ling S, Guo J, Haas DS, Marelli B, Omenetto F, Lin SJ, Kaplan DL. Regenerated silk materials for functionalized silk orthopedic devices by mimicking natural processing. Biomaterials 2016;110:24-33.

Rodriguez MJ, Brown J, Giordano J, Lin SJ, Omenetto FG, Kaplan DL. Silk based bioinks for soft tissue reconstruction using 3-dimensional (3D) printing with in vitro and in vivo assessments. Biomaterials 2017;117:105-115.

Koolen P, Li Z, Roussakis E, Ibrahim A, Matyal R, Huang T, Evans CL, Lin SJ. Oxygen Sensing Paint-On Bandage: Calibration of a Novel Approach in Tissue Perfusion Assessment. Plast Reconstr Surg 2017;140(1):89-96.

van Veldhuisen CL, Kamali P, Wu W, Becherer BE, Sinno HH, Ashraf AA, Ibrahim AMS, Tobias A, Lee BT, Lin SJ. Prospective, Double-Blind Evaluation of Umbilicoplasty Techniques Using Conventional and Crowdsourcing Methods. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2017;140(6):1151-1162.

Chattha A, Bucknor A, Chen AD, Lee BT, Lin SJ. Indocyanine Green Angiography Use in Breast Reconstruction: A National Analysis of Outcomes and Cost in 110,320 Patients. Plast Reconstr Surg 2018;141(4):825-832.