Tissue engineering combines principles of the life sciences and engineering to replace and repair damaged human tissue. Present practice generally requires the use of porous, bioresorbable scaffolds to serve as temporary 3D templates to guide cell attachment, differentiation, proliferation, and subsequent regenerate tissue formation. Such scaffolds are anticipated to play an important role in allowing physicians to simultaneously reconstruct and regenerate damaged human tissue such as bone, cartilage, ligament and tendon. Recent research strongly suggests the choice of scaffold material and its internal porous architecture significantly influence regenerate tissue structure and function. However, a lack of versatile biomaterials processing and fabrication methods capable of meeting the complex geometric and compositional requirements of tissue engineering scaffolds has slowed progress towards fully testing these promising findings. It is widely accepted that layered manufacturing methods such as selective laser sintering (SLS) have the potential to fulfill these needs. Our research aims to investigate the viability of using SLS to fabricate tissue engineering scaffolds composed of polycaprolactone (PCL), one of the most widely investigated biocompatible, bioresorbable materials for tissue engineering applications. In this work, we report our recent progress on porous scaffold design and fabrication, optimal SLS processing parameter development using systematic factorial design of experiments, and structural characterization via optical microscopy.

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