It’s official: Plastic surgery has been granted department status at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The new department will be led by J. Peter Rubin, MD. Rubin and his pioneering work in regenerative medicine will be featured in the October 2012 issue of Plastic Surgery Practice magazine.

At the forefront of National Institutes of Health-funded research in the department is innovative work in adipose stem cells, wound healing, composite tissue allotransplantation, and craniofacial biology. The department is now actively screening patients for their first full face transplant.

“The medical school’s executive committee readily supported the transition, noting the atmosphere of collaborative research and educational rigor needed to succeed as an independent department,” says Arthur S. Levine, MD, senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean ayt Pitt’s School of Medicine, in a press release. “It will immediately become one of the largest plastic surgery departments in the nation, with around two dozen faculty members and more to come,” he says.

Rubin adds: “Being named a department represents the growth of plastic surgery as an independent discipline, both in scope of practice and educational process, as well as in the prominent role that the University of Pittsburgh has played in advancing the frontiers of this specialty.”

The Department of Plastic Surgery today includes 26 full-time faculty members and 27 volunteer, adjunct, and affiliated faculty. Pitt hopes to add to that number with a 7-year plastic surgery residency program.