Professor Frank Ko receives the 12th SEAM Annual Award

Dr. Frank K. Ko
Canada Research Chair
Professor (Tier I) in Advanced Fibrous Materials
Director, Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratory (AMPEL)

BS (Philadelphia University)
M.S, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology)
111-2355 East Mall
Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6T 1Z4
AMPEL: +1 (604) 822 7945
AMPEL fax:  +1 (604) 822 4750   
Frank Forward: +1 (604) 822 2738
 E-mail: frank.ko "at"

Research Interest
• Biomaterials
• Nanofibre Technology
• Textile Structural Composites

Heejae Yang (Post Doctoral Fellow)
Position opening for BS, MS and PhD research assistant

Research Activities and Selected Publications
Building on a tradition of creative design and fabrication of fibre based surgical implants the Advanced Fibrous Materials Laboratory is dedicated to the development of a nanofiber platform for tissue engineering scaffolds in orthopedic, vascular and neual prostheses. To assess the dynamics of cell-scaffold interaction Poly-L-Lactic acid (PLA), PLA fibers with and without single walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) were seeded with human chondrocytes and studied for a period of time. The seeded chondrocytes tended to maintain a guided growth along the fibrils. Morphology and viability of the chondrocytes seeded on the scaffold were confirmed by ESEM and MTT assay The PLA composite fibers containing SWNT showed no adverse effect on the viability of the cells seeded on them. The cell attachment to the PLA fibers containing SWNT was increased by incorporating Polylysine in the electrospinning dope. Research work has also been initiated on self expandable drug loaded polymer stents compliance neual prostheses.
A family of protein nanofibers from silk fibroin and wool keratin polymers as well as collagens and elastins have been developed. Procedures have been established for the preparation of the spinning dope for pure Bombyx mori silk fibers. A unique process without the use of Liphilolyser was established to prepare the spinning solution. The silk protein solution using formic acid as a solvent was found to be suitable for dispersing single wall carbon nanotubes. The silk solution with and without carbon nanotube was electrospun successfully into nanoscale fiber with significantly improved yield. The protocol for characterization of the composition, structural and physical properties was also established. To facilitate detection cds quantum dot as well as other nanoparticles have been successfully co-electrospun with nanofibres.

Nanofibre Technology
Electrospinning is a non-mechanical method for the formation of nanoscale fibers electrostatically from polymer solutions or melts.  Our research focus is to bridge the dimensional gap by electrospinning of multifunctional nanofibres and organize the nanofibers into linear, planar and 3-D fibrous assemblies. Building on the original work carried out by our group in conjunction with Professor Alan MacDiarmid in Polyethylene oxide (PEO)/ polyaniline (PANi), blends of several polymers have been successfully electrospun to form nanofibers and their composites with carbon nanotubes. We demonstrated for the first time that PEDT conducting polymer has been electrospun successfully into nanofibers. The introduction of carbon nanotube into the PEDT matrix resulted in significant enhancement of mechanical and electrical conductivity. A 10X increase in electrical conductivity by the addition of only 1-3 wt% of CNT to the PEDT polymer blend matrix. In collaboration with Professor john Madden (ECE) active research is being carried out in the development of nanofibre electrodes for super capacitors.

Textile Structural Composites
The Advanced Fibrous Materials Laboratory pioneered the development of continuous nanocomposite fibrils by co-electrospinning of nanoparticles, nanotubes and nanoplatelets with appropriate polymers thus creating a new pathway to connect nanomaterials to macrostructural design. With an objective to understand the structural basis for the outstanding combination of strength and toughness in spider silk, research on nanocomposite fibrils from recombinant spider silk is being carried out by the Advanced Fibrous Materials Group. It was demonstrated that 10X increase in strength and 5X increase in modulus were attainable with the addition of 1 weight % of carbon nanotube to the recombinant spider silk. Research has also been extended to various filler geometry that include graphite nanoplatelet (GNP) and various functional nano particles.
With a focus on the design and manufacturing science of complex 3-D fiber architecture the research of the Advanced Fibrous Materials group, working closely with the AMPEL composite group, spans over a broad range of length scale including large diameter braiding to micro and nanosacle braiding and nanofiber placement. A major emphasis of our research is the development of high damage tolerant and resistant fibre-based structures as well as products for health protection. With the capability to operate at the micro and nano regime new applications in orthopedic (ligament, tendon etc), vascular (arteries, stents) and neuralprosthetic structures (for brain machine interface) will be developed.

Selected Publications
Fertala, A., Han, W.B. and Ko, F.K., “Mapping Critical Sites in Collagen II for Rational Design of Gene-Engineered Proteins for Cell-Supporting Materials,” J. Biomed Mater Res 57, 48-51, 2001

Ko, F.K., “Braiding” in ASM Handbook, Volume 21, Composites, ASM International, December 2001, pp.69-77

MacDiarmid, A.G., Jones, W.E., Jr., Norris, I.D.,  Gao, J., Johnson, A.T Jr., Pinto, N.J, Hone, J.,  Han, B., F.K.. Ko,. Llaguno H., Okuzaki, M., , “Electrostatically-gernerated Nanofibers of Electronic  Polymers,” Synthetic Metals 119 (2001) 27-30

Li, W. J., Laurencin, C.T, Caterson, E.J, Tuan, R.S. and Ko, F.K., “Electrospun Nanofibrous Structure: A Novel Scaffold for Bioengineering,” Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, Wiley Interscience, March 25, 58, 2002, pp. 613-621

Ko, F., Gogotsi, Y., Ali, A., Naguib, N., Ye, H., Yang, G., Li, C., and Willis, P., “Electrospinning of continuous carbon nanotube-filled nanofiber yarns”, Adv. Mater. 2003, 15, No14, July 17

Sukigara, S., Gandhi, M., Ayutsede, J., Micklus, M., and Ko, F., “Regeneration of Bombyx  mori silk by electrospinning - Part 1:”, Polymer 44(2003) 5721-5727

Katti, D., Robinson, K., Ko, F.K., and Laurencin, C.T., “Bioresorbable Nanofiber-based Systems for Wound Healing and Drug Delivery: Optimization of Fabrication Parameters”, J. Biomed . Mat. Res. 2004, 70B: 286-296

Ko, F.K., “Nanofiber Technology: Bridging the Gap between Nano and Macro World”, in NATO ASI on Nanoengineeered Nanofibrous Materials, edited by S. Guceri and Y. Gogotsi, Kluwer Academic Publishers, (2004)

Sukigara, S, Gandhi, M., Ayutsede, J, Micklus, M., and Ko, F., “Regeneration of Bombyx mori silk by electrospinning- Part 2: Polymer 45, (2004) 3701-3708

Ko, F.K., “Electrospinning”, Edited by G. Wnek, McGraw-Hill Year Book, September 2004.

Ko, F.K., “Fabrics”, in Encyclopedia of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, Edited by G. Wnek and G. Bowlin, Marcel Dekker (2005)

Ko, F.K., Aufy, A., Lam, H., MacDiarmid, H., A., “Electrostatically Generated Nanofibers for Wearable Electronics”, in Wearable Electronics, Edited by X.M. Tao, Woodhead (2005)

Mack, J.J., Viculis, L.M., A. Ali, Luoh, Yang, R., G., Hahn, H.T., Ko, F.K., Kaner, R.B., Graphite Nanoplatelet Reinforcement of Electrospun Polyarylonitrile Nanofibers, Adv. Mater. 2005, 17, No.1, January 6

Ko, F.K., Lam, H., Titchenal, N., Ye, H., and Gogotsi, Y., Coelectrospinning of Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Nanocomposite Fibrils, in Polymeric Nanofibers, Edited by D. H. Reneker and H. Fong, ACS Symposium Series 918, 2006














Design made by Vishwan Aranha.