Date of Award


Degree Type



Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Tewari, Surendra N.

Subject Headings

Bone regeneration, Keratin, Tissue engineering, Tissue Engineering, Bone, Hair, Biomedical Engineering


The field of tissue engineering aims at promoting the regeneration of tissues or replacement of failing or malfunctioning tissue by means of combining a scaffold material, adequate cells and bioactive molecules. Different materials have been proposed for use as three-dimensional porous scaffolds for bone tissue engineering procedures. Among them, polymers of natural origin are one of the most attractive options mainly due to their similarities with the extracellular matrix (ECM), chemical versatility as well as typically good biological performance. In this study, two biocompatible composite scaffolds were developed from natural polymer by tissue engineering approach and tested in vitro. The first Scaffold (SCAF-1) that was developed was composed of human hair keratin protein and human hair fibers (cuticle-cortex). The second scaffold (SCAF-2) was composed of human hair keratin protein, human hair fibers (cuticle-cortex) and hydroxyapatite (HA) particles. SEM and EDX were used to analyze the three dimensional structure, surface chemistry and pore size of the scaffolds. Both scaffolds showed a three-dimensional structure with a pore size ranging from 40-500℗æm and porosity greater than 50 . Compressive tests were carried out under dry as well as wet conditions for both scaffolds. SCAF-1 showed compressive modulus of 0.009 MPa in wet condition and 0.90 MPa in a dry condition. Likewise, SCAF-2 had compressive modulus of 0.09 MPa in wet condition and 2.7 MPa in dry condition. Cell culture experiments with bone marrow stromal cells demonstrate that the composite scaffolds support cell attachment and proliferation.Overall, human hair keratin scaffolds have been shown to have a porous three-dimensional structure that induces proliferation of GFP- stromal cells for bone tissue regeneration. These preliminary results suggest that human hair keratin, cuticle-cortex fibers and HA composite scaffolds appear to be an interesting structure for potential studies in bone tissue engineering