Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

David K. Mills


Bone injuries are commonly termed as fractures and they vary in their severity and causes. If the fracture is severe and there is loss of bone, implant surgery is prescribed. The response to the implant depends on the patient's physiology and implant material. Sometimes, the compromised physiology and undesired implant reactions lead to post-surgical complications. [4, 5, 20, 28] Efforts have been directed towards the development of efficient implant materials to tackle the problem of post-surgical implant failure. [ 15, 19, 24, 28, 32]

The field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine involves the use of cells to form a new tissue on bio-absorbable or inert scaffolds. [2, 32] One of the applications of this field is to regenerate the damaged or lost bone by using stem cells or osteoprogenitor cells on scaffolds that can integrate in the host tissue without causing any harmful side effects. [2, 32] A variety of natural, synthetic materials and their combinations have been used to regenerate the damaged bone tissue. [2, 19, 30, 32, 43]

Growth factors have been supplied to progenitor cells to trigger a sequence of metabolic pathways leading to cellular proliferation, differentiation and to enhance their functionality. [56, 57] The challenge persists to supply these proteins, in the range of nano or even picograms, and in a sustained fashion over a period of time. A delivery system has yet to be developed that would mimic the body's inherent mechanism of delivering the growth factor molecules in the required amount to the target organ or tissue.

Titanium is the most preferred metal for orthopedic and orthodontic implants. [28, 46, 48] Even though it has better osteogenic properties as compared to other metals and alloys, it still has drawbacks like poor integration into the surrounding host tissue leading to bone resorption and implant failure. [20, 28, 35] It also faces the problem of postsurgical infections that contributes to the implant failure. [26, 37]

The focus of this dissertation was to design and develop novel implant materials for coating titanium to improve its biological properties. These natural and/or semi-synthetic materials improved cellular adhesion, biological response to the scaffolds and prevented growth of bacteria when they were enhanced with growth factor and anti-infective loaded nanotubes. The implant materials showed promise when tested in vitro for cell proliferation, differentiation and bacterial growth inhibition.