Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

MS Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering

First Advisor

Kadlowec, Jennifer

Second Advisor

Singh, Anita

Third Advisor

Constans, Eric


Biomaterial Implant, BWSTT, Motion Capture, Physical Therapy, PNIPAAm-g-PEG, Spinal Cord Injury


Spinal cord--Wounds and injuries; Implants--Artificial; Biomechanics


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Mechanical Engineering


Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is a condition that affects around 250,000 Americans with no cure. Existing treatments rely on physical therapies such as body weight support treadmill training (BWSTT). Treatments currently being researched include the use of implantable cells and biomaterials. Our study investigated the changes in locomotive gait and range of motion via a combinational treatment using a bioengineered scaffold [poly (N-isopropyl acrylamide) polyethylene glycol (PNIPAAm-g-PEG) with BDNF and NT-3] and rehabilitation training using BWSTT in a clinically relevant contusion SCI animal model. Five different groups of animals (Sham, Injury, BWSTT, Implant, and Combinational) were tested on a treadmill with BWSTT at three different BWS (75%, 65%, and 55%) and two different speeds (7 cm/s and 10 cm/s). Using three motion capture cameras, kinematic data were acquired and analyzed to study functional recovery in these groups. Our results show some kinematic recovery in the Combination therapy and BWSTT animals. Step height, length, and number of steps were significantly higher in these groups of animals. The obtained data warrant further studies that aim to investigate the efficacy of different biomaterial implants and combinational therapies.


The author has licensed this work under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC 4.0 License.