3D Bioprinting

Developing new bioinks and 3D-printed scaffolds for controlled cell culture

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Melt electrowritten scaffolds for the study of cancer cells in the blood-bran barrier

In this project, we are using Melt Electrowriting (MEW) as a way of manufacturing scaffolds with various adjustable properties. MEW is a novel bioprinting technique, which allows polymer melt deposition into micrometer-range fibers, with high resolution and accuracy. We produce mesh-like scaffolds with different mechanical features, porosity, architecture and material composition, which recreate the blood-brain barrier. Endothelial and astrocyte cells can be co-cultured on the MEW scaffolds, leading to a complex testing model. The behavior of cancer cells (viability, proliferation, migration, marker expression) in this model, as well as their reaction to the administration of selected therapeutics will be monitored.

People: Magdalena Gladysz, Gosia Wlodarczyk-Biegun
Cell attached to a melt electrowritten scaffold
Melt electrowritten scaffolds for skin modelling

The objective of this project is to develop a functional skin model based on melt electrowriting, which can contribute to the advancement of in-vitro testing (eg. for drugs) and tissue engineering. First, we focus on designing different geometric patterns to obtain fibrillar scaffolds. The patterns in these scaffolds provide physical cues for cells (desired structural properties), and mechanical properties resembling native skin. Embedding these scaffolds into a hydrogel matrix allows us to incorporate biological cues and cells, and further tune their macroscopic mechanical properties. In a second stage, we will fabricate scaffolds that combine a fibrous network and a hydrogel with dermis- and epidermis-, mimicking different layers of skin. This approach will allow us to gain new insights on the decoupled impacts of topological (physical) and biochemical signaling on cell behavior. In addition, the proposed models could find applications as sensors, selective diffusion barriers or responsive drug carriers.

People: Xixi Wu, Gosia Wlodarczyk-Biegun
Proposed skin model combining a melt-electrowritten scaffold with a hydrogel matrix
Tailor-made scaffolds as models for musculoskeletal connections

Musculoskeletal injuries are a growing medical problem associated with overuse or/and age-related tissue alteration. Due to the complicated structure of musculoskeletal connections, it is still a major challenge to produce scaffolds that closely imitate native tissue. Melt Electrowriting allows for the printing of micron-sized polymeric fibers in a highly controlled fashion. As a result of this unmatched precision in printing, it is possible to produce scaffolds tailored towards individual patients. The scaffolds can aid the healing process by delivering drugs that are released at a controlled speed and exact dose.

People: Piotr Zieliński, Gosia Wlodarczyk-Biegun

Scaffolds mimicking the human trabecular meshwork in vitro

Open-angle glaucoma is an eye condition where the trabecular meshwork (TM) loses its ability to properly maintain a healthy intraocular pressure (IOP) within the eye, as it is no longer able to evacuate aqueous humour from it. This results in a high IOP which damages the optic nerve and causes blindness. The exact mechanism behind this change is not well understood yet and the available in vitro models fail to recapitulate the complex structure of the TM. The aim of this project is to produce a model of the TM that mimics the architecture, tensile properties, and perfusion rate of the human TM in vitro. For that purpose scaffolds made with melt electrowriting (MEW) will replicate the gradual shift from sporadic beams with relatively large gaps in between them, to fibers with much narrower inter-fiber distances. TM cells will be seeded on the scaffolds and perfused with liquid in order to mimic native human TM conditions. This model could serve as an in vitro drug testing platform or as a replacement for the damaged TM in patients.

People: Frendion Marchena, Magdalena Gladysz, Gosia Wlodarczyk-Biegun