Purdue University Graduate School

Microtissues Demonstrate Properties of Wound Healing in 3D

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Microtissues Demonstrate Properties of Wound Healing in 3D

posted on 2022-08-01, 13:14 authored by Heather GeorgeHeather George

An essential stage of repair for a healing wound is the proliferation of cells in the damaged space. Cells such as fibroblasts, grow and migrate to aid in construction of new tissue and to close the wound. Current methods of studying fibroblast proliferation in wound healing include a 2D wound healing assay in which a cell monolayer is scratched, and the cells migrate into the pseudo-wound. However, this lacks the 3D architecture of a physiological wound. Current 3D models of wound healing often rely on the use of a preexisting matrix for structural assistance, however an isolated system of cell growth without requirement of structural aid may gather new insights on intercellular behavior and mechanical properties. Additionally, we to desire to fabricate a high through-put and easy to use 3D wound healing model than currently offered. Our engineering objective is to create a novel 3D model of wound healing.

This project aims to optimize fibroblast adhesion and proliferation for 3D microtissue fabrication by altering surface and extracellular matrix (ECM) properties to SU-8 scaffolding. Additionally, we consider the effect of different geometries on cell proliferation and cellular stresses/strains, fibronectin production as pseudo-wounds close, and make comparisons to intercellular cancer behavior. Our results show around a 66% decrease in overall culture time required for the microtissues to reach full confluency. Varying geometries in the tessellated design have revealed structural changes in the actin cytoskeleton formation of fibroblasts, and increased fibronectin production along edges of tensioned cells preparing to “close” the wound. When compared to human breast cancer cells, the cancer cells lack the ability to make critical cell to cell junctions that we observe in fibroblasts, noting the characteristic that cancer is like a wound that never heals.






Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering


  • Biomedical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Luis Solorio

Additional Committee Member 2

Adrian Buganza

Additional Committee Member 3

Jason Hanna

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