Kacey G. Marra, PhD

Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery


Fax: 412-383-2821

200 Lothrop Street

1655 E. BST

Pittsburgh, PA 15261, 


Dr. Marra is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Plastic Surgery (primary) and Bioengineering (secondary), as well as Co-Director of the Adipose Stem Center, at the University of Pittsburgh. She is also a core faculty member in the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, where she has served as a member of the Executive Committee since 2004. 

After earning her PhD in organic chemistry in 1996 from the University of Pittsburgh, she was a post-doctoral fellow for Elliot Chaikof at Emory University for one year where they published four papers in the area of cardiovascular tissue engineering. Following four years as a research scientist at Carnegie Mellon University conducting bone tissue engineering research, Kacey became the Director of the Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh in 2002.

Dr. Marra has a publication record of over 95 peer-reviewed articles in the area of tissue engineering, including a landmark paper that was among the first to examine the effects of adipose stem cells in peripheral nerve gaps. Dr. Marra was among the first to examine the effects of adipose-derived stem cells in peripheral nerve gaps, and received world-wide attention for that work. Dr. Marra has presented or co-authored more than 400 abstracts in the area of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
Dr. Marra is Principal Investigator on NIH, NSF, and DoD grants in the area of regenerative medicine, and she also has both industry and foundation support. Her tissue engineering laboratory consists of 30 members, and she also co-directs the Adipose Stem Cell Center with Dr. J. Peter Rubin.  She also runs an outreach program for high school students, entitled Research Opportunities for High School Students, thus exposing young students to tissue engineering at an early age.


Gerlach, J.C.; Lin, Y.-C.; Brayfield, C.A.; Minteer, D.; Li, H.; Rubin, J.P.; Marra, K.G.* “Adipogenesis of Human Adipose-Derived Stem Cells within 3D Hollow Fiber-Based Bioreactors,” Tissue Engineering, Part C, 2012, 18(1):54-61. | View Abstract »

Lin, Y.-C.; Marra, K.G.* “Injectable systems and implantable conduits for peripheral nerve repair,” Biomedical Materials, 2012, 7(2):1-9. | View Abstract »

Chung, C.W.; Marra, K.G.; Li, H.; Leung, A.S.; Ward, D.H.; Tan, H.; Kelmendi-Doko, A.; Rubin, J.P.* "VEGF Microsphere Technology to Enhance Vascularization in Fat Grafting," Annals of Plastic Surgery, 2012, 69(2):213-9. | View Abstract »

Marra, K.G.; Rubin, J.P.* "The Potential of Adipose-derived Stem Cells in Craniofacial Repair and Regeneration,” Birth Defects Research Part C: Embryo Today: Reviews, 2012, 96(1):95-7. | View Abstract »

Lin, Y.-C.; Ramadan, M.; Van Dyke, M.; Kokai, L.E.; Philips, B.J.; Rubin, J.P.; Marra, K.G.* “Keratin Gel Filler for Peripheral Nerve Repair in a Rodent Sciatic Nerve Injury Model,” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 2012, 129(1):67-78. | View Abstract »

Philips, B.J.; Marra, K.G.; Rubin, J.P.* “Adipose Stem Cell-based Soft Tissue Regeneration,” Expert Opin. Biol. Ther., 2012, 12(2):155-63. | View Abstract »

Nectow, A.R.; Marra, K.G.; Kaplan, D.L.* “Biomaterials for the Development of Peripheral Nerve Guidance Conduits,” Tissue Eng, Part B, 2012, 18(1):40-50. | View Abstract »

Wada, T.; Ihunnah, C.A.; Gao, J.; Chai, X.; Zeng, S.; Philips, B.J.; Rubin, J.P.; Marra, K.G.; Xie, W.* “Estrogen Sulfotransferase Inhibits Adipocyte Differentiation,” Molecular Endocrinology, 2011, 25(9):1612-23. | View Abstract »

Smith, D. M.; Cooper, G. M.; Afifi, A.; Mooney, M. P.; Cray Jr, J. J.; Rubin, J. P.; Marra, K. G.; Losee , J. E.* “Regenerative Surgery in Cranioplasty Revisited: The Role of Adipose Derived Stem Cells and BMP-2,” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 2011, 128(5):1053-60. | View Abstract »

Rubin, J. P.; Marra, K.G. “Soft Tissue Reconstruction,” Methods Mol. Bio. 2011, 702:395-400. | View Abstract »

Ghaznavi, A.M.; Kokai, L.E.; Lovett, M.L.; Kaplan, D.L.; Marra, K.G.* "Silk Fibroin Conduits: A Cellular and Functional Assessment of Peripheral Nerve Repair," Annals of Plastic Surgery, 2011, 66(3):273-279. | View Abstract »

Li, H.; Zimmerlin, L.; Marra, K.G.; Donnenberg, V.S.; Donnenberg, A.D.; Rubin, J.P.* “Adipogenic Potential of Adipose-derived Stem Cell Subpopulations,” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 2011, 128(3):663-72. | View Abstract »

Tan, H.; Li, H.; Rubin, J.P.; Marra, K.G.* “Controlled Gelation and Degradation Rates of Injectable Hyaluronic Acid-based Hydrogels through a Double Crosslinking Strategy,” J. Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, 2011, 5(10):790-7. | View Abstract »

Lin, Y.-C.; Ramadan, M.; Hronik-Tupaj, M.; Kaplan, D.L.; Philips, B.J.; Sivak, W.; Rubin, J.P.; Marra, K.G. “Spatially Controlled Delivery of Neurotrophic Factors in Silk Fibroin-Based Nerve Conduits for Peripheral Nerve Repair,” Annals of Plastic Surgery, 2011, 67(2):147-55. | View Abstract »

Research Lab Affiliation

Lab Role