Collagen-glycosaminoglycan membrane shell scaffold core composites for connective tissue engineering that avoids aspects of the typical tradeoff between mechanical properties (i.e. modulus, failure strength) and bioactivity (i.e., permeability and porosity) for porous tissue engineering scaffolds. The relative density of the collagen glycosaminoglycan scaffold core can be about 0.5 to about 0.95 while the membrane shell can be about 0.001 to 25 about 0.2. The core-shell composite can be tubular and the composite can have a diameter of about 1 mm to about 20 mm. The collagen glycosaminoglycan membrane shell can be perforated with about 25 to about 1000 micrometers openings or alternatively can be embossed with any range of pattern features from about 25 to about 1000 micrometers in size. The porous collagen glycosaminoglycan scaffold core can be populated with cells such as adult or embryonic stem cells, tenocytes, osteoblasts, nerve cells, cardiac cells, myocytes, fibroblasts or combinations thereof.
 This work was supported by the Chemistry-Biology Interface Training Program NIH NIGMS T32GM070421 (SRC) and the U.S. Department of Energy under grants DE-FG02-07ER46453 and DE-FG02-07ER46471. The United States government has certain rights in this invention.