Characterization of Micropatterned PEG Hydrogels

Characterization of Micropatterned PEG Hydrogels


Zac Rynerson



Dr. Rebecca K. Willits

Three-dimensional patterned hydrogels are one potential mechanism of creating complex tissue engineered scaffolds. Our laboratory is interested in developing polyethylene glycol (PEG) patterned gels as a means to investigate cellular attachment and growth. Characterizing the patterns is necessary to qualitatively understand the limits of the micropatterning process. The current study utilized confocal microscopy to analyze the effect of area and depth on resolution of an intended micropattern. Furthermore, atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to characterize the mechanical parameters of a PEG hydrogel with the addition of bovine serum albumin (BSA). Confocal results illustrate the percent change of intended area as a function of depth through PEG hydrogels. AFM force-distance curves of PEG and PEG-BSA show no significant difference. The results of the confocal microscope study may be used as a qualitative tool for determining the approximate area and depth of intended micropatterned hydrogels. Future work can build on protocols developed in order to further investigate various parameters of micropatterned hydrogels.