Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Xuejun wen

Second Advisor

Daniel Conway

Third Advisor

B. Frank Gupton


In a 2D cell culture, the cells are mainly grown on flat surfaces which are usually made of polystyrene plastic. Cells are able to attach to these surfaces, forming individual cell formations or colonies. In this study, we have been looked at many different platforms to improve cell growth, adhesion, attachment and proliferation on two different promising cell lines. These cell lines are the human neural stem cells (hNSCs) and human liver hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HepG2). Researchers have been very interested in studying these cell lines in the recent years as they have very useful potentials in the long run to aid and cure many of the disorders, diseases and possibly replace infected or injured organs as well. This can be done using actual clinical applications for cell therapies and tissue transplantation. Based on the studies conducted for this thesis, we have been able to show that cells can be maintained in a 2D culture setting with increasing growth and adhesion factors. The conditions used for these studies were a way to not use the traditional materials for cell attachment and growth. This was pursued due to the fact that most stem cells for their continuity require a microenvironment that will support their physical and chemical properties of an effective extra cellular matrix (ECM). To reiterate, presently most ECM molecules are human or animal derived for effective cell culture applications but not clinical. This is a major problem as each batch varies, they are difficult to isolate and most contain biological components that have been known to limit their use in clinical applications. Hence, this study concentrated on developing synthetic polymer based ECMs as they do not have the problems of the human or animal derived ECMs, but also as they are relatively low-cost, reliable and easily fabricated. Through many experimental trials we have successfully developed synthetic polymer based ECM molecules that sustain stem cell growth for HepG2 liver hepatocellular carcinoma and hNSC human neural stem cell lines. The different substrates developed were a peptide fabricated in our lab; different concentrations and solutions of Poly 4-vinylphenol (P4VP) that were used on a flat hollow fiber membrane made using Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) doped in a solution containing PAN/N, N-dimethylformamide (DMF) having a high biocompatibility. This hollow fiber membrane study was maintained with eight different conditions over a period of 6 weeks.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Available for download on Tuesday, June 25, 2216