Date of Award



Biomedical and General Engineering


Kristen O'Halloran Cardinal


Intravascular devices, such as stents, must be rigorously tested before they can be approved by the FDA. This includes bench top in vitro testing to determine biocompatibility, and animal model testing to ensure safety and efficacy. As an intermediate step, a blood vessel mimic (BVM) testing method has been developed that mimics the three dimensional structure of blood vessels using a perfusion bioreactor system, human derived endothelial cells, and a biocompatible polymer scaffold used to support growth of the blood vessel cells. The focus of this thesis was to find an in-house fabrication method capable of making cellular scaffolding for use in the BVM. Research was conducted based on three aims. The first aim was to survey possible fabrication methods to choose a technique most appropriate for producing BVM scaffolding. The second aim was to set up the selected fabrication method (electrospinning) in-house at Cal Poly and gain understanding of the process. The third aim was to evaluate consistency of the technique.

The work described in this thesis determined that electrospinning is a viable fabrication technique for producing scaffolding for BVM use. Electrospun scaffolding is highly tailorable, and a structure that mimics the natural organization of nano sized collagen fibers is especially desirable when culturing endothelial cells. An electrospinning apparatus was constructed in house and a series of trial experiments was conducted to better understand the electrospinning process. A consistency study evaluated scaffold reproducibility between different spins and within individual spins while setting a baseline that can be used for comparison in future work aimed at electrospinning.