PhD Thesis Proposal: Prajan Divakar

Tuesday, August 21, 2018, 2:00–4:00pm

Rm. 132, MacLean ESC

“Design, Manufacture, and In Vivo Performance of Freeze-cast Biomaterial Scaffolds”


The design and development of freeze-cast biopolymer scaffolds is currently hampered by a lack of quantitative correlations and metrics to characterize and predict in vivo performance and ultimately, clinical outcomes. Taking directionally freeze-cast collagen as an attractive biomaterial, the goal of this research is to systematically establish correlations between structure, properties, and processing parameters and the histopathology and biology of the in vivo response. Exploring the fundamental knowledge gap for these collagen scaffolds and applying them to pre-clinical animal models will result in a framework for informed iterative biomaterials design, optimization, and selection for a given clinical application. Specifically, the aims are to:

  1. understand and quantify structure-property-processing correlations for collagen tissue scaffolds manufactured by freeze casting with the key processing parameters of freezing direction and freezing rate;
  2. develop histomorphometric techniques to quantify the foreign body response and evaluate scaffold performance in an in vivo animal model;
  3. determine correlations between collagen scaffolds from aim 1 using techniques from aim 2, as well as understanding the genetic and cellular etiology behind the foreign body response; and
  4. apply the developed biomaterials to non-surgical female sterilization as a clinical case study.

The fundamental experimental and theoretical framework developed and successfully applied to collagen scaffolds in this dissertation is equally applicable to other biomaterials and scaffold types. It is expected that by deploying the approach, next-generation medical devices can be developed more efficiently,­ and that superior translational potential, clinical safety and efficacy, and patient outcomes may be anticipated.

Thesis Committee

For more information, contact Daryl Laware at