Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Materials Science and Engineering

Major Professor

Shanfeng Wang

Committee Members

Roberto S. Benson, Andy Sarles, Peter K. Liaw, Shanfeng Wang


This dissertation presents novel biodegradable copolymers with dendritic architecture, classic polymers, and inorganic materials with controlled surface topography, stiffness, and surface energy for investigating cell-material interactions and targeting tissue engineering applications. Chapter I reviews the recent progress in bone and nerve regeneration, the key factors of materials influencing cell-material interaction, and self-assembled polymer structures. Chapter II presents a divergent method to synthesize biodegrable com-dendritic tri-block copolymers consisting of poly(ethylene glycol) and poly(L-lactide) or poly(e[epsilon]-caprolactone) and the MC3T3-E1 cell response to their spherulites. Chapter III presents the fabrication of deformable poly(e-caprolactone) honeycomb films prepared via a surfactant-free breath figure method in a water-miscible solvent and how the tunable topography regulates MC3T3-E1 cell functions. Chapter IV investigates the fabrication of photo-cured poly(e-caprolactone) triacrylate films with tunable pore size via breath figure method and how the pore size regulates MC3T3-E1 cell behavior. Chapter V invented a facile method to fabricate honeycomb films with submicron pores using monodisperse silica nanoparticle as template and studied the MC3T3-E1 cell functions on those honeycomb films. Chapter VI described a novel method to fabricate microgrooves with honeycomb patterns and investigated the MC3T3-E1 cell functions on this special topography. Chapter VII introduces a facile method to obtain controllable surface energy on poly(e-caprolactone) substrates via controlling the composition of edge-on and flat-on lamellae and how MC3T3-E1 cells behave on those substrates with different surface energy. Chapter VIII synthesizes biomimetic calcium carbonate concentric microgrooves with tunable width via self-assembly and studies the MC3T3-E1 cell response to those microgrooves. Chapter IX describes one method to fabricate controllable topographical features and mechanical properties on poly(e-caprolactone) substrates using uniaxial and biaxial stretching and how those substrates regulate MC3T3-E1 cell functions. Chapter X studies rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) response to the banded spherulites of poly(e-caprolactone) and polyhydroxybutyrate. Chapter XI presents the preparation of honeycomb-patterned copolymer films with tunable pore size and how the pore size regulates NPC cell attachment, proliferation, and differentiation.

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