Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2022

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Sciences


Michael Mason

Second Committee Member

Karissa Tilbury

Third Committee Member

David Neivandt

Additional Committee Members

Mehdi Tajvidi

Tod O’Brien


Research on novel biomaterials to address current limitations associated with bone grafting is currently of high demand. Current treatment options for bone regeneration are facing challenges such as donor site morbidity and limited availability, immune rejection, and disease transmission. Research conducted on natural polymers to mimic Extracellular matrix (ECM)structure of bone tissue demonstrated their strong potential to spur bone regeneration. Engineered scaffolds that are inspired by oriented collagen/Hydroxyapatite (HA)structure in natural bone are promising biomaterials that can provide an ECM like structure for primitive mesenchymal cells to grow and differentiate to the bone cells. Cellulose nanofibril (CNF) is a natural and biocompatible polymer that is widely used in tissue engineering and wound healing. CNF has the same size features of collagen and due to its biocompatibility and anisotropy is a potential candidate to recapitulate bone microstructure. Hydroxyapatite (HA) is the major mineral compound of the bone which improves bioactivity and tissue integration attributes of implanted biomaterials. Current study suggests a methodology to induce fiber alignment in CNF/HA nanocomposites and evaluates the potential of oriented CNF/HA nanocomposite material to support cell growth and redirect pre osteoblasts as precursors to osteocytes. This study lays the foundation for the development of synthetic bone mimic scaffolds with affordable cost and relatively simple method.