Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Biomedical Engineering

Advisor 1

Smitha Rao

Advisor 2

Megan Frost

Committee Member 1

Ashwin Nair

Abstract

Electrospinning holds great promise for designing functional 3D biomimetic scaffolds for tissue engineering applications. The technique allows for the reproducible fabrication of 3D scaffolds with control over the porosity and thickness. In this work, a novel method for the synthesis of a 3D electroactive scaffold using electrospinning from polycaprolactone (PCL), Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) and Polyaniline (PANI) is reported. Additional scaffolds involving different morphologies of PCL, PCL-PVDF and PCL-PANI-PVDF were also fabricated and evaluated. The scaffolds were characterized using electron microscopy to visualize the morphologies. Infrared spectroscopy was used to confirm the presence of polymers and their respective phases in the scaffolds, and the degree of crystallinity was calculated using data from X-ray diffraction. Mechanical properties of the scaffolds were studied and the data was used to predict the cell-scaffold response. The method of preparation of the PCL-PANI-PVDF scaffolds of nanofibrous morphology provided control over the architecture of the scaffold. The synthesis process involved the preparation of doped PCL-PANI dispersions which were used as the core polymer solution. A PVDF polymer solution was used as the sheath solution. The synthesized scaffolds had many layers of fibers and were aligned. The scaffolds were seeded with H9c2 cells derived from rat cardiomyoblasts to check the cell-scaffold interactions. The cell line was chosen among many others because of the membrane potential of the cells and mechanical stiffness of scaffold required. Immunofluorescent staining for the actin filaments were used to evaluate the cell response to the scaffold. The scaffolds seeded with cells were also imaged using electron microscopy to check for scaffold infiltration and cell-scaffold interaction. Among all the scaffolds, PCL-PANI-PVDF showed behavior of a true biomimetic scaffold with scaffold infiltration, cell alignment and cell proliferation. The scaffolds were used as fabricated after sterilization and no external treatment was required. This research can be used for the future fabrication of acellular scaffolds for different applications like organ engineering, neural interfaces and drug eluting scaffolds.

Available for download on Wednesday, April 10, 2019

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