Advisory Committee Chair
Advisory Committee Members
Robin D Foley
Date of Award
Degree Name by School
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Engineering
The design and manufacture of novel materials has served as the bedrock for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. There exists a need for more biocompatible implantable materials in the biomedical device space. The approach to developing biomaterials fit for biomedical devices has been focused on decreasing overall physiological interaction with the local environment. However, the development of more biomechanically favorable materials has placed an emphasis on designing materials that display biomimetic and biomechanical properties resembling that of the host tissue at the implant site. As biomaterials engineering has progressed, the race to find materials that interact at the nano- and micro-scales has yielded novel biomaterials, primarily in the polymers and composite space. The introduction of biopolymers as suitable replacements for commonly implantable materials highlights various deficits in biomaterial design. A focus on tissue regenerative biomedical research has shifted biomaterial requirements towards a need for more bioactive materials that also employ greener synthesis and processing methods. Challenges arise with respect to such materials since altering the chemical composition of materials will typically affect the bulk properties of the material as well as its scalability and translational potential. However, low-temperature plasma (LTP) has opened the door for the synthesis of bioactive nanoparticles and modification of material surfaces via functionalization, etching, and reactive coatings via surface grafting and surface polymerization. Recently the National Science Foundation (NSF) has funded $40 million to Alabama Universities (a consortium of 9 universities and a few industries) to explore Future Technologies Enabled by Plasma Processes (FTPP) based on low-temperature plasmas. The UAB materials engineering team focused on plasma’s surface interaction with soft biomaterials for tuning the bio-interfaces of materials for various biomedical applications. In an era of growing interdisciplinary study, this work attempts to increase the utility of commonly used scaffold and grafting materials via the use of low-temperature plasmas to both synthesize and attach, what would otherwise be, inactive, or even toxic, nanoparticles. This project will expand on this idea by establishing proof of concept via the use of novel 3D-printed PLA scaffold designs. These novel designs will serve as the primary vehicle for low-temperature plasma-assisted nanoparticle deposition due to its relevance in the literature and its wide use in biomedical applications. This project will be accomplished with the following specific aims in mind: 1) Develop and optimize a plasma-assisted surface reduction process that can reduce and bind nanoparticles to the surface of commonly used biocompatible materials. 2) Elucidate the structure/property relationships of the resultant composite surfaces through characterization. 3) Explore applications of this system for biomedical endeavors toward tissue engineering.
Hernandez-Moreno, Gerardo, "A Cold Plasma-Enabled Reduction Process for the Fabrication of Metallic Nanostructures Onto Polymeric Biomaterials" (2023). All ETDs from UAB. 18.