Although poly(alpha-hydroxy esters), especially the PLGA family of lactic acid/glycolic acid copolymers, have many properties which make them promising materials for tissue engineering, the inherent chemistry of surfaces made from these particular polymers is problematic. In vivo, they promote a strong foreign-body response as a result of nonspecific adsorption and denaturation of serum proteins, which generally results in the formation of a nonfunctional fibrous capsule. Surface modification post-production of the scaffolds is an often-utilized approach to solving this problem, conceptually allowing the formation of a scaffold with mechanical properties defined by the bulk material and molecular-level interactions defined by the modified surface properties. A promising concept is the so-called "blank slate": essentially a surface that is rendered resistant to nonspecific protein adsorption but can be readily activated to covalently bind bio-functional molecules such as extracellular matrix proteins, growth factors or polysaccharides. This study focuses on the use of the quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) to follow the layer-by-layer (LbL) electrostatic deposition of high molecular weight hyaluronic acid and chitosan onto PLGA surfaces rendered positively charged by aminolysis, to form a robust, protein-resistant coating. We further show that this surface may be further functionalized via the covalent attachment of collagen IV, which may then be used as a template for the self-assembly of basement membrane components from dilute Matrigel. The response of NIH-3T3 fibroblasts to these surfaces was also followed and shown to closely parallel the results observed in the QCM.