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In this thesis, ultrafine fibrous 3D matrices were fabricated using three different proteins (soy protein, wool keratin, and chicken feather keratin) via freeze-drying. Protein matrices are preferable for tissue engineering compared to matrices made from synthetic material because of their similarity to native extracellular matrices. Due to their cell-binding motifs, natural proteins are also recognized as more biocompatible compared. Freeze-drying, which is a simple method used to produce 3D sponge matrices, was employed in this study to fabricate 3D fibrous matrices in a controlled manner. The inner structures of the 3D matrices fabricated ranged from film to fibers, and the diameters of the fibers ranged from the micro scale down to the nano scale. This controlled fabrication of protein matrices was achieved by individually varying protein concentration, SDS concentration, and freezing time. The techniques developed in this study to fabricate ultrafine fibrous 3D protein matrices could potentially be applied to other proteins and be used in tissue engineering applications.
Advisor: Yiqi Yang