Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Type



Biomedical Engineering

Director of Thesis

Esmaiel Jabbari

Second Reader

Safaa Kader


The purpose of this research is to provide an alternative to naturally derived bone grafts. There is a gap in the supply of donors and the demand of bone tissue. Artificial scaffold creation can work as an implant and decrease the shortage of bone grafts and increase the range of injuries that can be repaired. Current research focuses on optimizing mechanical properties such as porosity, improving vascularization using cells, and generating osteoconductivity. For osteodifferentiation, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can differentiate into mesodermal lineages such as chondrocytes, osteoblasts, adipocytes, and tenocytes by supplementing cultures with lineage-specific soluble factors (Marchetti). Co-culturing ECFCs with MSCs has is known to promote vasculogenesis (Shafiee). The calcium content effect on the vasculogenic potential of ECFCs has not been thoroughly studied and would be a novel direction for further work. The Ca2+ ion is known to play a role in cell signaling, such as in the Wnt signaling pathway. Increased Ca2+ concentration could increase the cellular proliferation of ECFCs and cause upregulated expression of VEGFA protein-coding gene. Including the hydroxyapatite (HA) and tricalcium phosphate (TCP) scaffold could potentially increase the proliferative ability of the stem cells and enhance the healing process for the bone repair. Ensuring proper pore structure and matrix structure also ensures cell viability and optimal mechanical demands such as for load bearing applications. The scaffold is a suitable material for cell adhesion, and the scaffold can withstand degradation by macrophages therefore in the body the scaffold will be able to last for the typical amount of time it takes for the fracture to heal. For 100% degradation, this would be estimated to take approximately 104 days.

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