Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Dr. Sharan Ramaswamy

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dr. Yen-Chih Huang

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Dissertation Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Dr. Norman Munroe

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Dissertation Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Dr. Arvind Agarwal

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Dissertation Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Dr. Lidia Kos

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Dissertation Committee Member


Articular Cartilage, Engineered cartilage, osteochondral defects, Hydrogel, PEGDA, Hydroxyapatiye, nanoparticle, Biomechanics, Integration

Date of Defense



Articular cartilage injuries occur frequently in the knee joint. Several methods have been implemented clinically, to treat osteochondral defects but none have been able to produce a long term, durable solution. Photopolymerizable cartilage tissue engineering approaches appear promising; however, fundamentally, forming a stable interface between the tissue engineered cartilage and native tissue, mainly subchondral bone and native cartilage, remains a major challenge. The overall objective of this research is to find a solution for the current problem of dislodgment of tissue engineered cartilage at the defect site for the treatment of degraded cartilage that has been caused due to knee injuries or because of mild to moderate level of osteoarthritis. For this, an in-vitro model was created to analyze the integration of tissue engineered cartilage with the bone, healthy and diseased cartilage over time. We investigated the utility of hydroxyapatite (HA) nanoparticles to promote controlled bone-growth across the bone-cartilage interface in an in vitro engineered tissue model system using bone marrow derived stem cells. We also investigated the application of HA nanoparticles to promote enhance integration between tissue engineered cartilage and native cartilage both in healthy and diseased states. Samples incorporated with HA demonstrated significantly higher interfacial shear strength (at the junction between engineered cartilage and engineered bone and also with diseased cartilage) compared to the constructs without HA (p < 0.05), after 28 days of culture. These findings indicate that the incorporation of HA nanoparticles permits more stable anchorage of the injectable hydrogel-based engineered cartilage construct via augmented integration between bone and cartilage.





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