Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Hung, Albert

Abstract

Tissue Engineering is a process in which cells, engineering, and material methods are used in amalgamation to improve biological functions. The purpose of tissue engineering is to develop alternative solutions to treat or cure tissues and organs that have been severely altered or damaged by diseases, congenital defects, trauma, or cancer. One of the most common and most promising biological materials for tissue engineering to develop scaffolds is Type I collagen. A major challenge in biomedical research is aligning Type I collagen to mimic biological structures, such as ligaments, tendons, bones, and other hierarchal aligned structures within the human body. The intent of this research is to examine possible techniques for organizing Type I collagen and to assess which of the techniques is effective for potential biological applications. The techniques used in this research to organize collagen are soft lithography with solution-assisted sonication embossing, directional freezing, and direct poling. The final concentration used for both soft lithography with solution-assisted sonication embossing and direct poling was 1 mg/ml, whereas for directional freezing the final concentration varied between 4mg/ml, 2mg/ml, and 1 mg/ml. These techniques were characterized using the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) and Helium Ion Microscope (HIM). In this study, we have found that out of the three techniques, the soft lithography and directional freezing techniques have been successful in organizing collagen in a particular pattern, but not alignment. We concluded alignment may be dependent on the pH of collagen and the amount of acetic acid used in collagen solution. However, experiments are still being conducted to optimize all three techniques to align collagen in a unidirectional arrangement.

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