Increasing 3D Porosity of Electrospun Scaffolds

Author: Nick Mezak

Advisor: Dr. Melinda Simon 

Current tissue engineering research is focused on the development of 3D scaffolds as a viable means to organize stem cells. One major challenge of this approach is ensuring nutrients and wastes are able to reach and leave the cells. To address this issue scaffolds must be porous while retaining the desired structure and pattern. The purpose of this project will be to increase the porosity of electrospun scaffolds by electrospraying spherical agregets of a sacrificial polymer simultaneous with the main electrospun polymer fibers to increase porosity. Two polymers, PCL and PEO will be used during the electrospinning process. The electrospinning parameters (voltage, distance, flow rate, mandrel speed) will also be optimized empirically to achieve the desired parameters: fibers (1-10um diameter), pore size (50-200um diameter), and scaffold thickness (0.5-1mm).