3D Scaffolds from Self Assembling Ultrashort Peptide for Tissue Engineering and Disease Modeling

  • Salwa Alshehri

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Tissue engineering is a promising approach that combines the interactions of biomaterials, cells, and growth factors to stimulate tissue growth and regeneration. As such, selecting a suitable biomaterial is vital to the success of the procedure. Ideally, the material should show similarity to the extracellular matrix in the structure and relative stiffness, and biofunctionality beside others to provide a comfortable environment for the cells. Additionally, the biomaterial properties should allow for the effective diffusion of relevant growth factors and nutrients throughout the material to enable cell growth. Because peptides are composed of amino acids found naturally within the human body, they are considered non-toxic and biocompatible. Ultrashort peptides are peptides with three to seven amino acids that can be self-assembled into helical fibers forming scaffolds of supramolecular structures. These peptide hydrogels formed a highly porous network of nanofibers which can quickly solidify into nanofibrous hydrogels that resemble the extracellular matrix (ECM) and provide a 3D environment for cells with suitable mechanical properties. Furthermore, we can easily tune the stiffness of these peptide hydrogels by just increasing peptide concentration, thus providing a wide range of peptide hydrogels with different stiffness for 3D cell culture applications. Herein we describe the use of ultrashort peptide hydrogels for the maintenance and the differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells into the osteogenic lineage. Furthermore, we develop a three dimensional (3D) biomimicry acute myeloid leukemia (AML) disease model using biomaterial from a tetramer ultrashort self-assembling peptide. In addition, we evaluate the potential application of peptide hydrogels as a hemostatic agent. The results presented in this study suggest that our biomimetic ultrashort tetrapeptide hydrogels are an excellent candidate for tissue engineering and biomedical applications.
Date of AwardJun 6 2022
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorCharlotte Hauser (Supervisor)


  • Peptide hydrogel
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Osteogenic differentiation
  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • 3D culture

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