Polymer Science Faculty Research

Fabrication of combinatorial polymer scaffold libraries

Matthew Becker


We have designed a novel combinatorial research platform to help accelerate tissue engineering research. Combinatorial methods combine many samples into a single specimen to enable accelerated experimentation and discovery. The platform for fabricating combinatorial polymer scaffold libraries can be used to rapidly identify scaffold formulations that maximize tissue formation. Many approaches for screening cell-biomaterial interactions utilize a two-dimensional format such as a film or surface to present test substrates to cells. However, cells in vivo exist in a three-dimensional milieu of extracellular matrix and cells in vitro behave more naturally when cultured in a three-dimensional environment than when cultured on a two-dimensional surface. Thus, we have designed a method for fabricating combinatorial biomaterial libraries where the materials are presented to cells in the form of three-dimensional, porous, salt-leached, polymer scaffolds. Many scaffold variations and compositions can be screened in a single experiment so that optimal scaffold formulations for tissue formation can be rapidly identified. In summary, we have developed a platform technology for fabricating combinatorial polymer scaffold libraries that can be used to screen cell response to materials in a three-dimensional, scaffold format