Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering Science


Biomedical Engineering


Dr Wankei Wan

Second Advisor

Dr Derek Boughner


The aortic heart valve regulates blood flow as it exits the heart and enters the body; when this valve malfunctions it creates serious health problems. While current valve replacement options are satisfactory, the ultimate goal is to create a living valve replacement that can self repair, regenerate and remodel as the patient grows. An approach is via tissue engineering, which uses principles from engineering and cell biology to create functional tissue substitutes for in vivo replacement. This study aims at fabricating nanofibrillar scaffolds by coaxial electrospinning for the treatment of valvular disease. Many electrospun biopolymers promote cell adhesion, but lack the necessary signals that encourage cell proliferation and migration. The objectives of this work are to create a bioactive scaffold by encapsulating therapeutic proteins within a polymer shell and to analyze the protein release kinetics. By incorporating growth factors into the nanofibres, controlled release within the scaffold may be achieved and biochemical cues for tissue regeneration can be signaled. Samples were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy and laser scanning confocal microscopy. Core-shell nanofibres composed of poly(caprolactone) (PCL) and encapsulated bovine serum albumin (BSA) were successfully prepared and had an average diameter of diameter of 1069 ± 388 nm. Electrospun PCL-BSA scaffold containing 62.7 ± 5.7 pg of BSA were able to release 35.33 ± 2.23 % of the theoretical loaded protein over 10 days. Furthermore, a method for isolating and purifying type I collagen from rat tails was developed and solid collagen fibres were prepared with an average diameter of 256 ± 48 nm. Core-shell nanofibres composed of type I collagen and encapsulated BSA with average inner and outer fibre diameters of 87 ± 33 nm and 204 ±73 nm, respectively.



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