Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2019

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical Sciences


Caitlin Howell

Second Committee Member

Douglas Bousfield

Third Committee Member

Rosemary Smith


Biological vascular systems contain a network of three-dimensional channels that transport and deliver necessary nutrients throughout the organism. These systems are complex, adaptable, and possess the ability to detect and respond to external stimuli as needed. In this work, we mimic the complexity and adaptability of biological systems by incorporating vascular systems into polymeric materials. Vacant channels are created using a fugitive ink technique along with 3D gel printing. Upon completion of vascular channel construction, proof of principle testing is performed by inoculating the polymeric surface with bacteria and adding antibiotics to the vascular channels. The system is then characterized by measuring the resultant areas of inhibition. Computer models are constructed in COMOSL Multiphysics. The vascular system geometry, antibiotic concentration, and effective diffusion coefficients define the model, and are used in conjunction with known bacterial growth parameters such as minimum inhibitory concentration and critical time to determine the final arrangement of bacterial biofilm on the surface. Theoretical models are then experimentally validated. This approach may prove useful in applications such as compact methods of bacterial detection and separation of bacterial multi-cultures based on antibiotic resistance.