Board Members

Associate Research Professor

Dr. Hilton Kaplan

  • Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
  • MBBCh, FCSSA(Plast), MS(MDDE), MS(RegSci), PhD
  • University of Southern California
  • Colleges of Medicine of South Africa
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of the Witwatersrand

Dr. Hilton Kaplan is a Plastic, Reconstructive and Maxillofacial Surgeon, and a Biomedical Engineer. His current research focuses on neurosciences (neural prosthetics and implantable man-machine interfaces), and tissue engineering (decellularized composite tissues for limb and face allotransplantation). He is an Associate Research Professor in the NJ Center for Biomaterials (NJCBM) at Rutgers University, and an Adjunct Professor in Regulatory Science at the University of Southern California. Dr. Kaplan has held various clinical and research positions across both academia and industry, including Senior Medical Director at Allergan (Fortune 500 healthcare) and Vice President of Clinical Sciences at LifeCell (pioneered decellularizing dermis). He is a founding board member of the non-profits Grossman Burn Foundation, and Look at Us Alliance for Craniofacial Differences.

Summary of Research Interests:

Dr. Kaplan’s research interests in neuroscience focus predominantly on neural prosthetics and other implantable man-machine interfaces, such as fine flexible brain micro-electrodes, and his extensive work on injectable electronic micro-chips for stimulating movement in the paralyzed. These areas have direct application to restoring functional sensory-motor interactions in spinal cord injury and stroke patients.

Another important research area of Dr. Kaplan’s is in the tissue engineering field, where he is building a program at the NJCBM to develop, implement and optimize techniques for decellularization and recellularization of musculoskeletal composite tissues and component structures, for allotransplantation of limbs and faces.

One of the pre-eminent hurdles to overcome in limb and face transplantation is the re-innervation of distant body parts. This is where Dr. Kaplan’s neuroscience and tissue engineering work intersects. This program aims to explore the utility of novel techniques for nerve regeneration over long distances, in conjunction with motor-endplate “baby-sitting” approaches.

Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies

Alana Jayne Kaye


From Sydney, Australia, Alana Kaye has dedicated much of her life to those less fortunate. Her Humanitarian Studies at Charles Darwin University in Australia and in Disaster Relief at the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard University in the United States have fueled her passion for helping others in need.

With extensive volunteer work and travel for 10 years through Africa, Central America and Asia, Alana is now focused on caring for the children and families of Haiti. Alana organizes surgeries for Look at Us for Haitian children and provides support to their families.

When she’s not in Haiti, Alana spends her time between Australia and The Bahamas. Later this year, she will spend three months onboard the Mercy Ship, Africa (floating hospital) as a surgery coordinator. Being onboard the ship will expand her knowledge, experience in this field. Alana has volunteered for World Vision Australia for many years and many Local Organizations through Africa. 

Sean Smith

Sean is a Nurse-Paramedic who has practiced and taught Critical Care, Aero-Medical Evacuation, and Emergency Medicine across the age spectrum, from neonates to geriatrics, for 15+ years. He is passionate about underserved populations, especially pediatrics.  He holds degrees in Molecular Biology, Business Administration, and Nursing, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Forensic Science. Career highlights include serving 8 years in the US Navy, numerous author / co-author credits, routinely lecturing at national/international conferences, 40+ medical missions, providing patient care and teaching in the “Hot Zone”  during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, and providing PRN medical support to the NASA Space Shuttle Program for 6 years.  He is also currently serving on the Boards for a pediatric Cystic Fibrosis charity, a Child Advocacy Charity in Haiti, and the Academy of Neonatal Nursing.