Neil Hall

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering



First Advisor

Young-Tae Kim


Extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins interact with cells in bodily microenvironments by influencing their essential cellular processes in growth, survival, migration and repair after injury. In this study, a novel microfluidic device was developed to study preferential interactions of cells with multiple extracellular matrix proteins simultaneously in an unbiased manner. The implementation of PDITC-treated glass and a controlled laminar flow of multiple separated, soluble proteins was used to create an unbiased microenvironment in which ECM proteins are adsorbed on the glass surface in a manner that simultaneously exposes cells to multiple proteins, and allows them to migrate or outgrow toward the most growth-promoting "preference" protein. The technique was proved by exposing cortical neurons to laminin and aggrecan simultaneously. The cortical neurons consistently migrated toward the laminin opposed to the aggrecan, which is expected. At this point, different strains of human-derived primary glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cells were exposed to different proteins and compared for preferential migration differences. One strain (133P) was exposed to two different growth-promoting proteins, laminin and fibronectin, and was found to not have a significant preference towards either when comparing average number of cells migrated. When the data was normalized by percentage, the 133P cells showed a statistically significant preference toward laminin. A second strain (C419) was tested with laminin, fibronectin, and vitronectin, showing 100% migration towards laminin in every trial. These results lead to certain conclusions regarding the migration and infiltration patterns of GBM in vivo within the healthy brain tissue of patients. With this test platform presented, any strain of cells can be tested for migration preference and patterns, leading to understanding of their growth patterns in vivo.


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington