Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Chemical and Biological Engineering


Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Surya K. Mallapragada

Second Advisor

Donald S. Sakaguchi


Peripheral nerve regeneration is a complex biological process responsible for regrowth of neural tissue following a nerve injury. The main objective of this project was to enhance peripheral nerve regeneration using interdisciplinary approaches involving polymeric scaffolds, stem cell therapy, drug delivery and high content screening. Biocompatible and biodegradable polymeric materials such as poly (lactic acid) were used for engineering conduits with micropatterns capable of providing mechanical support and orientation to the regenerating axons and polyanhydrides for fabricating nano/microparticles for localized delivery of neurotrophic growth factors and cytokines at the site of injury. Transdifferentiated bone marrow stromal cells or mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were used as cellular replacements for lost native Schwann cells (SCs) at the injured nerve tissue. MSCs that have been transdifferentiated into an SC-like phenotype were tested as a substitute for the myelinating SCs. Also, genetically modified MSCs were engineered to hypersecrete brain- derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) to secrete therapeutic factors which Schwann cell secrete. To further enhance the regeneration, nerve growth factor (NGF) and interleukin-4 (IL4) releasing polyanhydrides nano/microparticles were fabricated and characterized in vitro for their efficacy. Synergistic use of these proposed techniques was used for fabricating a multifunctional nerve regeneration conduit which can be used as an efficient tool for enhancing peripheral nerve regeneration.


Copyright Owner

Anup Dutt Sharma



File Format


File Size

226 pages