Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Biomedical Engineering


Biomedical Engineering


Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering


Beachley, Vincent Z.

Committee Member 1

Galie, Peter A.

Committee Member 2

Vega, Sebastian L.


Biomaterials, ECM Hydrogels, Electrospun Nanofibers, Hydrogels


Biomedical materials; Colloids--Properties; Tissue engineering


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering


Extracellular matrix (ECM) hydrogels are a useful biomaterial in the tissue engineering field used for injectables in drug delivery systems, wound dressing, tissue regeneration and many other applications. ECM hydrogels are highly biocompatible, contain proper ratios of biomolecules required for complex bioactivity of tissues and they promote tissue repair. However, ECM hydrogels typically have poor mechanical strength, which leads to hydrogel instability, and a limitation in their ability to be modified for translational applications. In this research, genipin, a natural crosslinker derived from plants, was utilized in an attempt to improve upon the mechanical limitations of ECM hydrogels. Genipin has a low toxicity that is reportedly 10,000x less than that of glutaraldehyde, another chemical that is commonly used in biofabrication for crosslinking purposes. In this research, improved mechanical properties and enhanced resistance to degradation were observed with increasing ECM and genipin concentrations. 2D and 3D genipin crosslinked dECM hydrogels seeded with mesenchymal stem cells displayed viability at all time points. Cells were viable in hydrogels containing genipin up to 1mM, however over time there was a noticeable decrease in cell count above 0.1mM genipin concentrations. These results indicates that genipin crosslinking may provide a wide range of benefits for ECM hydrogels and may be a viable alternative for more toxic crosslinkers such as glutaraldehyde.