A bioabsorbable nanofibrous scaffold was developed for early adhesion of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Collagen nanofibers with diameters of 430 +/- 170 nm were fabricated by electrospinning. Over 45% of the MSC population adhered to this collagen nanofiber after 30 min at room temperature. Remarkably, collagen-coated P(LLA-CL) electrospun nanofibers were almost as efficient as collagen nanofibers whereas collagen cast film did not enhance early capture when it was applied on cover slips. The adhesive efficiency could be further increased to over 20% at 20 min and over 55% at 30 min when collagen nanofibers were grafted with monoclonal antibodies recognizing CD29 or CD49a. These data demonstrate that the early adhesive behavior is highly dependent on both the surface texture and the surface chemistry of the substrate. These findings have potential applications for early capture of MSCs in an ex vivo setting under time constraints such as in a surgical setting.