Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Degree Level



Biomedical Engineering


Jeffrey C. Wolchok

Committee Member

Kartik Balachandran

Second Committee Member

Kyle P. Quinn

Third Committee Member

Tyrone Washington


Aging, Bioengineering, Biomaterials, Musculoskeletal, Regenerative medicine, Tissue engineering, Volumetric muscle loss


Volumetric muscle loss (VML) is a traumatic injury in skeletal muscle resulting in the bulk loss of more than 20% of the muscle’s volume. Included in the bulk loss of muscle is the skeletal muscle niche comprised of nerve bundles, vasculature, local progenitor cells, basal lamina, and muscle fibers, overwhelming innate repair mechanisms. The hallmark of VML injury is the excessive accumulation of non-contractile, fibrotic tissue and permanent functional deficits. Though predominant in the younger demographic, the elderly population is also captured within VML injuries. There are many factors that change with aging in skeletal muscle that may further hinder recovery and regeneration following VML. In an attempt to further our understanding on how age affects VML treatments, comparisons between young and aged animals following VML injury and repair were made. Presented in this dissertation is a summary of the current state of the tissue engineering field in skeletal muscle and explores strategies for repairing not only VML but also understanding what age-associated changes in skeletal muscle preclude effective tissue repair. The future directions and potential approaches to further the field’s understanding of VML repair in the aging microenvironment along with the remaining challenges in skeletal muscle tissue engineering are presented within.