Seminar Friday, April 27, 2018

Vince Beachley, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of BIomedical Engineering
Rowan University

Engineering polymer nanofibers with enhanced mechanical strenth for regenerative medicine applications

Polymer nanofibers are suitable for tissue engineering applications due to their relative size scale to cells and natural extracellular matrix (ECM) fibers. The ability of electrospun polymer nanofibers to direct cell morphology, alignment, differentiation, and ECM production through physical guidance cues is well established. However, electrospun tissue engineering scaffolds are limited by weak individual fiber mechanical properties and a lack of control over spatial organization of the fiber architecture. This seminar will discuss an automated track electrospinning approach that is utilized to process individual polymer nanofibers and assemble them into ordered structures. Post-draw processing, made possible at the nanoscale with this technology, enhanced the mechanical stiffness and strength of polycaprolactone (PCL) nanofibers. Higher order structures with controlled nanofiber alignment and fiber density were used to produce 2D aligned cell sheets and 3D tissue-like grafts. The combination of enhanced mechanical strength and the ability to induce cellular alignment suggests clinical potential for load bearing orthopedic grafts to regenerate aligned tissues such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           


Dr. Vince Beachley is an Assistant Professor in the department of Biomedical Engineering at Rowan University with research interests in areas of nanofiber engineering & processing, tissue engineering, and biomaterials. His research focus on innovation and translational technologies has lead to several patents related to nanofiber assembly and high throughput tools for analyzing cell-biomaterial interactions. Polymer nanofiber processing technologies that were recently developed by his lab are currently funded by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Beachley received a B.S. degree from Virginia Tech in Engineering Science and Mechanics, a PhD from Clemson University in Bioengineering, and conducted his postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine at the Translational Tissue Engineering Center. His graduate and postdoctoral works were supported by fellowships from the American Heart Association and the Hartwell Foundation respectively. Dr. Beachley’s research has resulted in book chapters, presentations at numerous international conferences, and articles in journals such as Progress in Polymer Science, Advanced Healthcare Materials, Polymer, and Nature Methods.