Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Chemical and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Brad J. Berron


The cell plasma membrane is an interactive interface playing an important role in regulating cell-to-cell, cell-to-tissue contact, and cell-to-environment responses. This environment-responsive phospholipid layer consisting of multiple dynamically balanced macromolecules, such as membrane proteins, carbohydrate and lipids, is regarded as a promising platform for various surface engineering strategies. Through different chemical modification routes, we are able to incorporate various artificial materials into the cell surface for biomedical applications in small molecule and cellular therapeutics.

In this dissertation, we establish two different cell coating techniques for applications of cell-mediated drug delivery and the localization of cell-based therapies to specific tissues. The first part of this dissertation establishes a membrane-associated hydrogel patch for drug delivery. The crosslinking of a grafted polymeric patch from a mammalian cell membrane is achieved through surface-mediated photolithographic polymerization. With the use of photomask, the formation of nanoparticle-loaded PEGDA hydrogel is controlled to deposit various geometric features on photoinitiator-immobilized surfaces. Through microarray patch patterning, we analyzed the influence of processing parameters on the accuracy of polymer patterning on a microarray. We then optimized the patterning approach for the formation of PEGDA patches on live A549 cells.

In the second part of this dissertation, we study the use of tissue-adhesive coatings to improve the retention of therapeutic mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in the heart following intramyocardial or intravenous injection. MSCs were coated with antibodies against ICAM1 to adhere to CAM-overexpressed endothelium present in the heart following MI. Through intramyocardial or intravenous delivery, we observe higher number of coated cells retained in the heart over uncoated ones, supporting enhanced affinity for the inflamed endothelium near the infarct. We correlate the detachment force of antigen-interacted MSCs by a parallel laminar flow assay with the density of ICAM on the substrate and the density of anti-ICAM on the MSC surface. MSC retention on CAMmodified surfaces or activated HUVECs was significantly increased on antibody-coated groups (~90%) under physiologically hemodynamic forces (< 30dyne/cm2), compared to uncoated MSCs (~20%). Moreover, a dramatic reduction of immune cell quantity was observed after intravenous injection, indicating the enhanced immunoregulatory efficacy by systemically delivering ICAM-adhesive MSCs to the site of inflammation.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This work was partially supported by R01 HL127682 and the National Science Foundation under Award CBET-1351531.