Date of Award



Biomedical and General Engineering


Robert Crockett


In the past decade, advances in tissue engineering have allowed researchers to fabricate simple tissues. However, the process of creating these native tissues is a time consuming and inefficient process. A scaffold must first be fabricated then exposed to a sea of cells in the hopes of seeding. Furthermore, even though cells may have attached, more time must be spent in order to allow the cells to migrate to their ideal locations. To deal with this problem, researchers have investigated whether rapid prototyping principals could be adapted to facilitate the cell seeding process by placing cells in their respective locations during scaffold fabrication. The goal for this thesis was to establish the foundation for a cell-compatible printer that, in the future, could fabricate pre-seeded scaffolds. This task included implementing changes to a commercial solenoid-based inkjet system that would allow cells to be loaded into the printer in a sterile fashion. In addition, protocols had to be designed with system limitations in mind. An initial test with the designed system showed a majority of cell viability percentages above 90%. If additional tests confirm this possibility, the system should be further modified to provide cells with a proper culturing environment. Furthermore, additional research would need to be performed in order to determine whether scaffolding materials can be dispensed through the system to fabricate scaffolds.