Scaffolds are frameworks that allow stem cells to differentiate into functional cells in order to generate new, healthy tissue to treat ligament and tendon injuries. We simulated stem cells migrating and differentiating throughout scaffolds to help us understand better design parameters of scaffold efficacy. Cells can create and place fibers as they proceed within the scaffold environment, so we hypothesize that cell diffusion will be confined when in a high local fiber fraction. We defined local fiber fraction as the percentage of fiber volume in a set field centered around the cell. We used MATLAB to simulate a 3D matrix environment in order to determine the mean square displacement (MSD) of each cell. At the end of the simulation process, we compared MSD and fiber fraction over time. MSD plots indicate whether the cell experienced any displacement, underwent confinement, pure diffusion, or drift. Local fiber fraction plots display the density of fibers surrounding the cell with respect to time. The results of the simulation did not show a correlation between confinement and high fiber fraction. In the future, we will consider if the angle of the fibers affects the movement, or if a cell is constricted by the presence of another cell in future simulations.
Evans, Nick and Luke, Bethany, "Computational Simulations of Cell Diffusion in Matrix Environments" (2020). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 890.