Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering


Biomedical and General Engineering


Kristen Cardinal


Tissue Engineering A Blood Vessel Mimic While Monitoring Contamination Through Sterility Assurance Testing

Navid Djassemi

Tissue engineering blood vessel mimics has been proposed as a method to analyze the endothelial cell response to intravascular devices that are used in today’s clinical settings for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Thus, the development of in vitro blood vessel mimics (BVMs) in Cal Poly’s Tissue Engineering Lab has introduced the possibility of assessing the characteristics of cellular response to past, present, and future intravascular devices that aim at treating coronary artery disease.

This thesis aimed at improving the methods and procedures utilized in the BVM model. Initial aspects of this project focused on using an expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) scaffold in conjunction with human endothelial cells to replicate the innermost intimal layer of a blood vessel. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were pressure sodded onto ePTFE scaffolds through cell sodding techniques in an attempt to effectively and consistently replicate and assess the intimal layer. Through each study ePTFE grafts were subjected to different culture times and steady flow rates to observe and compare the differences in the endothelial cell deposition. Results were inconsistent, although moderate cell adhesion was noted throughout each of the BVM setups. Each study exhibited a range of cell sodding density rates.

In the second phase of the thesis, contamination assessment protocols were implemented in the BVM lab. The intent of this part of the project was to assess the relative sterility in the cell culture lab, a critical component involved with the success or hindrance of cell and tissue cultures. Using microbiological validated methods, microbiological tests were conducted to examine the levels of microbial growth in and around the tissue engineering lab.

Results were tracked over a two month period in the lab with several observations of aerobic microorganism growth on various counter and lab surfaces. Higher growth trends were found on surfaces outside the cell culture lab, in the general TE lab area. These findings were used to provide overall suggestions on tracking microbes for long-term durations in ongoing BVM setups to directly improve the overall sterility assurance of the studies.

As the project reached its conclusion a look back at all the BVM setups and contamination assessments lead to a few suggestions for improving aseptic techniques within the TE lab, such as monitoring microbial growth in the culture processes, creating limit specifications, and creating a standardized way to regulate quality control within the lab environment. Furthermore, as the development BVM evolves, the findings from this report can be used with related research for improving the culture conditions of various BVM studies.