Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering


Biomedical and General Engineering


Christopher Heylman


This study analyzed the feasibility of using gas foaming to create Poly Lactic-co-Glycolic Acid (PLGA) scaffolds for use as a substrate in bone tissue engineering and set out to determine whether the presence of osteoblasts on these scaffolds enhanced their material stiffness. The process of bone formation involves osteoblasts depositing extracellular matrix and calcifying this matrix with calcium phosphate crystals (Hasegawa et al., 2017) and pits between 30-40μm in diameter on tissue engineering scaffold surfaces have been shown to best promote osteogenic activity in the presence of bone-forming cells (Halai et al., 2014).The scaffolds were determined to contain pits within this 30-40μm range and the ability of osteoblasts to lay down and calcify extracellular matrix on gas foamed PLGA scaffolds was confirmed by the image analysis of inverted optical microscope images of Alizarin Red S-stained scaffold cryosectionsThe presence of osteogenic activity combined with the desired scaffold porosity led us to conclude that gas foaming PLGA scaffolds are a feasible method of scaffold fabrication for bone tissue engineering and allowed us to optimize the gas foaming apparatus as an instrument to be used in further bone tissue engineering experiments at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.However, this study failed to determine whether the presence of osteoblasts improved the material stiffness of the PLGA scaffolds due to a lack of statistical significance in compression testing results.