Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering (MSBME)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Biomedical Engineering

Advisor

Kaiming Ye

Committee Member

Robert Beitle

Second Committee Member

Yanbin Li

Third Committee Member

Sha Jin

Keywords

Applied sciences, Biological sciences, Electrospinning, Plasma, Polycaprolactone, Polymer

Abstract

Stem cell and tissue engineering offer us with a unique opportunity to research and develop new therapies for treating various diseases that are otherwise incurable using traditional medicines. However, development of these new therapies replies upon the establishment of in vitro cell culture and differentiation systems that mimic in vivo microenvironments required for cell-cell and cell-ECM interaction. The development of these cell culture systems depends upon the identification of appropriate biomaterials and cell sources. Biomaterials should be carefully selected and fabricated into scaffolds for supporting cell growth and differentiation. In this study, we explored the fabrication of 3D electrospun nanofiber scaffolds and demonstrated the feasibility of using these scaffolds for supporting cell growth. The material that we used for scaffold fabrication is a polymer, polycaprolactone (PCL). We discovered that the electrospun PCL nanofibers are highly hydrophobic, unsuitable for cell growth. The treatment of PCL electrospun nanofibers with oxygen plasma treatment endowed the fibers with hydrophilic property, making them suitable for cell growth. Our studies suggested that the length of oxygen plasma treatment considerably influences the water contact degree of the nanofibers and their hydrophilicity. The optimization of oxygen plasma treatment resulted in significant improvement of cell proliferation within the electrospun nanofiber scaffolds. Our results provide insight into plasma treatment effects on electrospun PCL as they relate to material properties and cell growth.

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