Date on Honors Thesis

Spring 5-2023





Examining Committee Member

Dr. Dena R. Weinberger, Advisor

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Chris Trzepacz, Committee Member

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Christopher W. Lennon, Committee Member


Tissue engineering can be defined as processes that aim to generate three-dimensional functional tissues in vitrothat have been favorably altered according to the structural, biochemical, electrophysiological, and biomechanical properties of the desired tissue before implantation into the human body. In relation to cardiac tissues, these properties would include the ability to conduct action potentials, withstand systolic pressure, permit sufficient O2 and CO2penetration, sufficient vascularization to supply nutrients for cellular activity, surface topology that enables cellular communication, and more. As heart diseases and instances of myocardial infarction continue to rise worldwide, there is an increasing need for more treatments for the resulting damaged cardiac tissue. This review discusses the strategies which have been developed towards this end. These include the discovery of cardiac lineage pathways for artificial differentiation, creation of artificial extracellular matrices with materials such as hydrogels, and decellularization methods which render healthy tissues viable for repopulation with the genetic material of patients. A heavier emphasis is placed on the current research on cardiac muscle patches as this portion of the field is much closer to moving into advanced trials. Future directions in cardiac tissue engineering should aim to further refine the dosages of growth factors required to nourish patches to full maturation and vascularization, as pursuit of this end should open new clinical treatment strategies for cardiac damage within the decade.