bioengineer

Allevi Author: Brigham & Women's Hospital Proves Porous is Preferred

2018-aqueous-two-phase-emulsion-bioink-enabled-3d-bioprinting-of-porous-hydrogels-cover allevi in 3d bioprinter

We’re so excited to welcome the Yu Shrike Zhang lab from Brigham & Women’s Hospital to the Allevi Author Club!

3D bioprinting is an amazing technology which allows researchers to create custom cell-laden constructs that mimic the human body better than their 2D counterparts. Here at Allevi, our mission is to make it easy for scientists to replicate the body outside the body. Our community of users is composed of the leadings minds in tissue engineering and they are working on every type of tissue from brain to bone.

Agnostic of tissue type, one of most important aspects of 3d bioprinting is ensuring that your cells organize and proliferate as they would in your body. Bioinks provide cells with a much needed support that allows them to more easily organize into the geometries that they would in native tissue. However, if a bioink is too dense or too rigid, it can actually hinder the proliferation of cells and prevent them from performing their needed function.

Our new #AlleviAuthors tackled this problem in their new paper titled “Aqueous Two‐Phase Emulsion Bioink‐Enabled 3D Bioprinting of Porous Hydrogels” and published in Advanced Materials.

By creating an aqueous bioink emulsion, the researchers were able to create a construct that is porous in composition while at the same time providing the rigidity needed in order to create 3D constructs. Their bioink is composed of cells mixed with GelMA and PEO which are immiscible materials - meaning that they do not mix in a homogenous manner. A classic example of immiscible liquids is oil and water. The fact that GelMA and PEO naturally repel each other means that small droplets of each material exist side by side within the bioink.

Using the Allevi 2 bioprinters, this bioink was bioprinted and crosslinked to form the desired geometry and rigidity of the tissue type that you are recreating. After the desired geometry has been achieved, you are then able to remove the PEO from the construct leaving small holes in the structure that allow cells to proliferate with greater ease.

The researchers tested their new method across 3 different cell lines and found that the porous 3D-bioprinted hydrogels showed enhanced cell viability and proliferation vs nonporous hydrogels. This new method means that researchers across any tissue type are now able to create porous-structures with higher cell viability. We’re excited to see the FAR reaching effects of this method for our entire community of Allevi researchers!

Read on to learn more about their novel bioink and how to incorporate it into your research: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/adma.201805460

3D Bioprinting Replacement Heart Valves

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Throwing it back today to show you this heart valve that was 3d bioprinted using the Allevi 2 with collagen from Advanced BioMatrix.

Your heart has four valves (one for each chamber) that are made up of thin flaps of tissue called cusps. These flaps open and close to allow blood to move through the heart while beating.  The cusps attach to an outer ring of tougher tissue called the annulus. The annulus helps the valve maintain proper shape under the normal strains and stresses of a heartbeat. 

 
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It is essential that your valves open and close tightly to ensure proper blood flow through the heart and onto the rest of your body. A diseased or damaged valve can give you an irregular heartbeat and eventually lead to heart failure. More than 5 million Americans are diagnosed with heart valve disease every year.

 
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Many people can live with valve disease and do not require surgery. However, in some cases, the valve needs to be fixed or replaced. Current methods for replacing a damaged valve included plastic parts or animal tissues.

Allevi users are working towards a future where your #doctor is able to 3d bioprint a custom replacement valve from your own heart cells to reduce the rate of failure and rejection. 3D bioprinting is an amazing design tool that allows you to print custom geometries and tune the rheological properties to provide your cells with the support structure they need to do their job. Just another amazing way our users are changing the future of medicine. #buildwithlife #healwithlife

Allevi Author: NJIT Bioprints Vascularized Tissue

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We are VERY excited to announce the latest addition the Allevi Author Club; the Guvendiren Lab from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Dr. Guvendiren’s lab focuses on creating novel bioinks for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications with a focus on 3D bioprinting. Their most recent paper, published in Acta Biomaterialia and titled “3D bioprinting of complex channels within cell-laden hydrogels”, explores their new approach to 3D bioprinting vasculature into 3D tissue.

There are many different methods for creating microchannels within constructs, including electrospinning, fiber bonding, and casting solvents into molds. However these techniques don’t allow for precise control of channel size, shape or location. They can also be time-consuming and restrictive in the number of cell lines that you are able to work with simultaneously.

The Guvendiren lab is exploring a new approach to creating these channel-laden tissues using their Allevi 2 bioprinter. In their paper, they explore a method of 3D bioprinting sacrificial bioinks into cell-laden hydrogels (pluronic into methacrylated alginate/methacrylated hyaluronic acid to be specific). This technique allows them to create custom channel geometries, control channel thickness and tune the hydrogel rigidity. They also explored a super cool technique wherein they alter the printhead speed in order to create channels of differing diameters.

Their images from confocal scanning show strong endothelial cell (HUVEC) attachment to the channel walls and depict the final 3D bioprinted vein construct.

HUVEC vascular channel vein 3d bioprinted bioprint allevi NJIT guvendiren

This research explores important techniques for creating tunable microchannels within 3D tissues. We can imagine a future wherein these methods are used to create 3D bioprinted organs with custom and complex vascular networks. It could also be used to create custom 3D models to study disease progression and test drug efficacy and toxicity. Amazing work, Guvendiren Lab!!

Click through to read their material characterization and learn more about their bioprinting approach: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1742706119301515.

The Allevi Academy

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By Lauren McLeod, Bioengineer: 

Here at Allevi, we’re always looking to the future - how to prepare for future challenges, how to revolutionize and improve on current research and methodologies...but sometimes it’s necessary to reflect on the past.  We took some time to think about the education experiences that got us to where we are today. Most of us conjured up memories of an impressionable teacher, exciting project, or even an awesome field trip that sparked an excitement for learning and science.  We thought to ourselves, “Why not have bioprinting be the seed of students’ excitement and learning for the field of bioengineering?”

We’re excited to announce the launch of The Allevi Academy- the first step in preparing today’s students for the regenerative medicine challenges of the future!  We partnered with high school teachers, university professors, and educators across the world to produce the best, most streamlined and accessible curriculum possible to arm teachers with the materials and resources needed to introduce their students to bioprinting.  

Through our curriculum, students gain experience with cutting edge biotechnology, putting them light years ahead of their peers as they enter college and the workforce.  According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, bioengineers hold the third fastest growing job in the United States, with a projected ten year growth of 61.7% by 2020. Our curriculum gives students a competitive advantage in this burgeoning field.

The curriculum enables students to develop valuable skills across multiple engineering disciplines. Included activities incorporate coding, computer aided design, engineering drawings and 3D fabrication to produce innovative solutions for situations modeled after real life tissue engineering challenges. From designing and prototyping hydrogel wound coverings, to vascularization channels for organ on a chip applications, students learn to problem solve and think critically- skills that span way beyond the field of bioengineering.

       -    All inclusive
       -    Easy to use
       -    Satisfies Next Generation Science 
       -    Satisfies National Science Education Standards
       -    Hands on
       -    Real world applications
       -    Adaptable

Check out The Allevi Academy and learn how you can prepare students for the future of STEM and provide them with the tools they need to tackle the challenges of the future!

Print Alive, Print Allevi