Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

Spring 5-31-2008

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Pranela Rameshwar

Second Advisor

Michael Jaffe

Third Advisor

Treena Livingston Arinzeh

Fourth Advisor

George Collins

Fifth Advisor

Cheul H. Cho

Abstract

Stem cells have become increasingly important in the biomedical field because they have the potential to invade and regenerate damaged tissue. In particular, the bone marrow contains meesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that have the capacity to differentiate into many cell lineages. The incorporation of MSCs within a multidimensional biomaterial provides a delivery vehicle to areas of injury. Natural and synthetic biomaterials can be made into scaffolds to represent different types of tissues. The ratio of synthetic to natural biomaterials in the scaffold influences the interaction with MSCs. This thesis created two different nanofibrous scaffolds by a process of electrospinning. The scaffolds consisted of a nanofiber mesh mimicking the extracellular matrix. One is derived solely from Poly-L-lactide acid and the other from Poly-L-lactide/Gelatin (50:50). Before and after culturing, measurements of fiber diameter, thermodynamics, and tensile strength were collected. Studies with primary human MSCs were conducted to characterize the in vitro behavior of MSCs seeded on and adhered to scaffolds of different compositions.

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