Faculty Sponsor's Department:
Successful integration of surgical implants is dependent on the properties of the used biomaterial. It has been found that not only is the chemical composition and implant’s design important, but that the nanotopography of the implant plays a critical role in cellular interaction to establish successful integration. In order to study the differences in cellular interaction between different nanotopographies, we employ a novel technique to create a nanoparticle concentration gradient along a surface. We hypothesize that when cellular interaction is measured along the surface of the gradient, there is a correlation between the nanoparticle density and the level of cellular adhesion to the surface. To study this hypothesis, we will form silicon dioxide nanoparticle gradients on glass surfaces and characterize the change in nanoparticle density using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and contact angle measurements. We will then use a modified atomic force microscope (AFM) and attach single cells to the cantilever and measure the interaction of the cell along the surface. The force required removing the cell off the surface correlates to the binding force. Parameters such as cell/surface interaction time, chemical functionalization of the surface, and cell type will be varied. We predict that there is an optimum distance required between the particles to form successful cellular adhesion. Since the topography of an implant plays such a key role in integration, our results in determining the optimum density of nanoparticles along a surface can be used to tailor specific topography for implants based on cell type.