Graduation Date

Fall 12-17-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Jingwei Xie, PhD

Second Advisor

Mark A. Carlson, MD

Third Advisor

Bin Duan, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Xiaowei Li, PhD


At the functional crossroads of engineering and biomedical sciences lies the interdisciplinary field of biomedical engineering. Principles of biomedical engineering are vast, and the rigorous application of engineering towards clinically-relevant medicine has the ability to take novel concepts from bench to bedside. Arguably one of the most promising and productive sub-fields within the biomedical engineering discipline is biomaterial engineering. Here, novel biomaterials, synthesized from natural, synthetic, or hybrid materials, can be used in tissue repair and regeneration, hemostasis, as anatomical support and drug delivery vessels, or as diagnostic devices.

Of particular interest are applications of nanofiber and microfiber objects, which have the ability to facilitate adherence and regeneration of multiple tissue types, exhibit super absorptive capabilities in diagnostics and hemostasis, and are easily scaled for high clinical translation. In the following dissertation, we demonstrate novel applications of electrospun nanofibers and electrostatic flocking towards tissue regeneration, wound healing, and diagnostics. A novel method to mass produce expandable nanofiber objects using Taylor cone and environmental controls is introduced. A clinical application and repurposing of expanded nanofiber objects as diagnostic and collection swabs is reported, with key findings in absorption and release, cell, protein, DNA, bacteria, and SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics reported. Two novel methods for electrostatic flocking are reported. In the first scenario, conductive nanoparticle fillers are used to induce bulk charge accumulation. Flocked scaffolds using this method were evaluated for in vitro and in vivo efficacy as cellular scaffolds. Similarly, a flocking method utilizing NaCl and surface charge accumulation is reported and evaluated in vitro, in vivo, and as an elastomeric disc reinforcement for artificial disc replacement devices. We demonstrate an effective synthesis and fiber size and density-dependent functionality in vitro and in vivo for both flocked scaffolds, and indicate multiple biomedical use cases for flocked objects and scaffolds.

The culmination of this work sets forth an effective method for large-scale synthesis of expansile nanofiber objects, introduces a promising new diagnostic swab utilizing nanofibers, and lays the groundwork for implementing electrostatic flocking as a viable fabrication technique in tissue engineering and showcases the versatility in application of 3D nanofiber objects.

Available for download on Wednesday, December 06, 2023