Date of Award


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

Committee Member 1

Jeremy Goldman

Committee Member 2

Marina Tanasova


Cell culture has become the basis for understanding the fundamental mechanisms of cell, tissue and organ function. Although major advancements in uncovering the underlying processes and mechanisms of normal and diseased cell biology have been made by using two-dimensional (2D) cell culture, there is a recent shift in moving towards three-dimensional (3D) culture platforms. The motivation is to better recapitulate the microenvironment of cells in vivo to obtain results that are more indicative to actual cellular processes. In this study, electrospun nano-fibrous scaffolds made of polycaprolactone were used as a 3D culture tool to investigate difference in cell behavior and gene expression in normal breast epithelial cells, 184B5, and breast cancer cells MCF7 and MDA-MB-231. Cells were seeded individually as well as in cocultures on the various platforms and treated with the fluorescent fructose mimic, ManCou-H for 24h and 48h. Differences in cell behavior as well as gene expression was observed amongst the different culture platforms indicating that there are discrepancies when limiting cell culture studies to 2D platforms. The varying gene expression of both GLUT5 and cytokeratin-18 amongst the platforms indicated that 3D culture platforms should be considered in experiment design.