Date of Completion

Spring 4-30-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Kazunori Hoshino

Honors Major

Biomedical Engineering


Bioelectrical and Neuroengineering | Biomechanics and Biotransport | Biomedical Devices and Instrumentation


This work details the damage done to cells when mechanically hit. The goal was to mechanically analyze in vitro traumatic brain injury (TBI) models. Parts were designed in SolidWorks to create the machine that is used to induce this damage on the cells. A force applicator that uses a 3D-printed micro-hammer to apply force on the brain cells that are being tested was created. Mechanical trauma experimentation was performed with the force applicator, while a high-speed camera recorded the damage, in order to analyze TBI models. Displacement along the scaffold can be tracked from multiple video frames. With these results, strain mapping can be completed and correlated to the associated neural network damage.

The goal of this model was to be able to reduce the need for in vivo animal studies, while also creating a more detailed visualization of TBIs in terms of the human brain. The aim was to model concussions and see what happens to brain cells when they undergo brute force. In vivo models are both expensive and morally suspect. Advantages to having an in vitro model to study TBIs include ethics, cost, repeatability, and real-time observation. An in vitro model allows researchers to repeat the force application experiment numerous times on the same brain model. This allows the experiment to more closely resemble real-world applications. There has not yet been a tool to perform real-time image analysis on brain cells being hit, so the goal was to create this tool.