Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Barbara E. Wyslouzil, Advisor




Every year over 20,000 [3] people die as a result of being in a fire. Although flames have the biggest visual impact, it is usually the smoke produced by the combustion of natural and synthetic materials that causes more damage and claims more lives. The main constituents of smoke, both the particulate matter as well as the hot and toxic gasses, are devastating to the tracheal and lung tissues. The damage caused to the lung and trachea by inhaling this smoke can increase a fire victim's susceptibility to infectious disease significantly [1]. Between 20% and 50% of people who suffer inhalation injury contract pneumonia due to the weakened status of their body's defenses [2] and between 4,800 and 6,400 [1] people die from either pneumonia or other complications. Despite the importance of the inner-lining of the trachea to a burn victim's health and survival, current treatments consist of keeping the patient in a clean environment, supplying fresh oxygen, keeping the airways open, and letting the patient's body heal itself [1]. This treatment is not so much an active healing mechanism; rather it is a passive means of allowing the body to repair itself. The main goal of this work is to develop a minimally invasive technique that will replace lost cells on the inside surface of the trachea as efficiently as possible, actively healing the patient's injury. Ideally, the patient would receive a single treatment and then make a complete recovery on his or her own. The main challenge lies in delivering an even layer of intact cells to the inner-surface of the trachea in such a manner that they will stay in place and will replace the damaged or missing tissue. The overall approach is to spray a suspension, composed of epithelial cells in an aqueous solution of Pluronic F-127 polymer, onto the trachea using a jet atomizer. Because Pluronic F-127 solutions can be liquids at room temperature but gels at body temperature, the role of the polymer will be to immobilize the cells onto the tracheal surface long enough for them to attach and grow.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Chemical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





tissue engineering, trachea, chondrocyte, epithelium, aerosol, Burns and scalds, Treatment, Fixation (Histology), Trachea, Epithelial cells