Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Catherine Whittington, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

George D. Pins, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Jeannine Coburn, Committee Member




Physiologically relevant scaffold-based tissue engineered structures have been limited in scope and viability by the diffusion limits of oxygen and other nutrients and functions provided by native vasculature in vivo. This has prevented the maintenance of healthy cell populations in scaffolds that are more than 200痠 thick. Combining concepts from microfluidics with biomaterials engineering, this project set out to engineer a perfusable fibrin-based vascular network capable of physiologically relevant flow properties as well as diffusion that supports viable cell populations. To create this system, a small artery sized (1.5 mm wide) gelatin sacrificial structure was embedded inside of a block of robust fibrin gel (4.26% w/v fibrin) then melted and rinsed out to create a perfusable vascular network. Characterization consisted of morphometric and histological analyses for channel sizes compared to the sacrificial structures, particle tracking to observe flow properties, and fluorescent dextran diffusion to measure diffusivity into the fibrin scaffold. We found that channels derived from sacrificial structures maintain their size and shape inside of the gel. Flow properties of the fluid through the channels were found to be both laminar and within expected physiological rates compared to native vessels of similar sizes. Cells on the surface of the fibrin vascular device expressed fluorescent markers that were delivered through the vascular network and perfused through the fibrin scaffold. These findings suggest that a fibrin based vascular system may provide a platform creating a functional vascular layer and for developing tissue engineered systems of increased size and complexity.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Biomedical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





Vascular Engineering Fibrin Vasculature