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Title: Mathematical modelling of cell growth in tissue engineering bioreactors
Author: Chapman, Lloyd A. C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 2789
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Expanding cell populations extracted from patients or animals is essential to the process of tissue engineering and is commonly performed in laboratory incubation devices known as bioreactors. Bioreactors provide a means of controlling the chemical and mechanical environment experienced by cells to ensure growth of a functional population. However, maximising this growth requires detailed knowledge of how cell proliferation is affected by bioreactor operating conditions, such as the flow rate of culture medium into the bioreactor, and by the initial cell seeding distribution in the bioreactor. Mathematical modelling can provide insight into the effects of these factors on cell expansion by describing the chemical and physical processes that affect growth and how they interact over different length- and time-scales. In this thesis we develop models to investigate how cell expansion in bioreactors is affected by fluid flow, solute transport and cell seeding. For this purpose, a perfused single-fibre hollow fibre bioreactor is used as a model system. We start by developing a model of the growth of a homogeneous cell layer on the outer surface of the hollow fibre in response to local nutrient and waste product concentrations and fluid shear stress. We use the model to simulate the cell layer growth with different flow configurations and operating conditions for cell types with different nutrient demands and responses to fluid shear stress. We then develop a 2D continuum model to investigate the influence of oxygen delivery, fluid shear stress and cell seeding on cell aggregate growth along the outer surface of the fibre. Using the model we predict operating conditions and initial aggregate distributions that maximise the rate of growth to confluence over the fibre surface for different cell types. A potential limitation of these models is that they do not explicitly consider individual cell interaction, movement and growth. To address this, we conclude the thesis by assessing the suitability of a hybrid framework for modelling bioreactor cell aggregate growth, with a discrete cell model coupled to a continuum nutrient transport model. We consider a simple set-up with a 1D cell aggregate growing along the base of a 2D nutrient bath. Motivated by trying to reduce the high computational cost of simulating large numbers of cells with a cell-based model, and to assess the validity of our previous continuum description of cell aggregate growth, we derive a continuum approximation of the discrete model in the large cell number limit and determine whether it agrees with the discrete model via numerical simulations.
Supervisor: Waters, Sarah ; Shipley, Rebecca ; Whiteley, Jonathan Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Mathematical biology ; mathematical modelling