Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering Science


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


Dr. Kibret Mequanint

Second Advisor

Dr. Amin Rizkalla


A recent surge of research in the field of tissue engineering has contributed to the development of novel biomaterials for restoring or replacing diseased cardiovascular tissues. In an effort to control biodegradability, a new class of polymers known as poly (ester amide)s (PEAs) are being studied as they show promising results for their use as biomaterials.

The work in this thesis focuses on a PEA that was synthesized from the a-amino acid L- alanine, 1,8-octanediol and sebacoyl chloride. Following detailed characterization, the synthesized PEA was used for fabricating of fibrous scaffolds with a blend of PCL by electrospinning. A number of parameters were studied in order to optimize the electrospinning process as well as fibre size; namely that of solution concentration and distance from collector. With increasing solution concentration, an increase in fibre diameter as well as pore size was observed. Conversely, increasing distance from the needle tip to the collector reduced fibre diameter for up to 10 cm then diameter increased up to 14cm from collector. In addition, qualitative and quantitative degradation of PEA and PEA-PCL polymer blend discs were also assessed and, results show that degradation proceeded primarily through fibre fusing and surface erosion. PEA quantity had a significant effect on degradation time where higher PEA contents accelerated the degradation. Finally, cell studies using human coronary artery smooth muscle cells (HCASMC) were conducted to assess its suitability for proliferation and gene expression and, consequently, use in vascular tissue engineering. MTT assay showed that the fibres were not cytotoxic. Furthermore, cells showed strong attachment after a 4 and 7 day culture. Finally, Western blot analysis revealed that elastin protein gene expression was enhanced on these fibres.



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