Biofabrication of Human Tissue-on-a-Chip Models Using Engineered Biocompatible Electrospun Scaffolds

Zayra Naomi Dorado, University of Texas at El Paso


This study explored the adoption of furfuryl gelatin (F-gelatin) based electrospun scaffolds compared with poly-caprolactone (PCL) as promising biomaterials for tissue engineering applications. Tissue-on-a-chip models, incorporating F-gelatin and PCL electrospun scaffolds, offer promising avenues for healthy and disease-in-vitro tissue models that can be explored to investigate underlying physiological mechanisms involved in disease development. Previous research has demonstrated the cytocompatibility of F-gelatin when used for modifying implant surfaces and tissue repair applications. Our earlier published works have also successfully utilized F-gelatin for in-vitro cardiac tissue engineering. We designed F-gelatin and PCL electrospun scaffolds to replicate the native tissue extracellular matrix (NT-ECM) environment. Additionally, we hypothesized that blending the hydrophilic F-gelatin with hydrophobic PCL would result in mechanically robust scaffolds capable of supporting the retention and viability of cells, essential for establishing a successful in-vitro tissue model. Since the electrospinning method offers versatility in controlling fiber alignment and composition, allowing for the generation of scaffolds that closely resemble the NT-ECM, we aim to optimize the electrospinning parameters to yield scaffolds that possess excellent mechanical fidelity, biocompatibility as well as the ability to sustain long-term culture periods. Specifically, we will study the effects of optimizing electrospinning parameters such as rotational speed, deposition distance, and voltage to evaluate their impact on the resultant scaffolds. Two collection speeds, static (0 RPM) and dynamic (>100 RPM), will be compared to assess their effects on scaffold fiber alignment as well as orientation and its correlation with the scaffold’s biological properties.To facilitate these experiments, we have developed an in-house electrospinning system capable of recording the various electrospinning parameters via an Arduino setup, which has led to reliable and reproducible results for tissue engineering applications. Samples will be characterized for mechanical fidelity via SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy), FTIR-ATR (Fourier-Transform Infrared – Attenuated Total Reflectance), and DMA (Dynamic Mechanical Analysis). Finally, three different applications will be developed using these scaffolds, including their use in 1) seeding and differentiation of neural progenitor cells for studying neurodegenerative diseases, 2) for the development of cardiac cell models to study the onset of diabetes, and 3) adoption in tissue on-a-chip models to be tested under microgravity and other extreme environmental conditions. Overall, this project contributes to developing novel NT-ECM for biocompatible human tissue-on-a-chip models via the biofabrication of electrospun scaffolds.

Subject Area

Biomedical engineering|Bioengineering|Bioinformatics

Recommended Citation

Dorado, Zayra Naomi, "Biofabrication of Human Tissue-on-a-Chip Models Using Engineered Biocompatible Electrospun Scaffolds" (2024). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI31298221.