Abstract

Recently, ASME’s Video Production team visited the Biomodeling and Biomeasurements Lab at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., where researchers are working to develop 3D-printable body parts.

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Mechanical Engineering staff

More than 42,000 organ transplants took place in 2022, according to Health Resources and Services Administration, while more than 100,000 people remain on the national transplant waiting list. Instead of waiting for just the right transplant to come along, doctors could soon be turning to custom 3D-printed organs.

ASME’s Video Production team recently visited the Biomodeling and Biomeasurements Lab at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., where researchers are putting this concept to work.

“We can apply 3D printing in order to create tissues for in vitro models, as well as for implantation,” said Robert Chang, a professor at the Biomodeling and Biomeasurements Lab.

To do that, the team built a quad-extension bioprinter inhouse by using commercial, off-the-shelf resin printers to make its necessary components. The result: 3D-printed constructs that look like tissue and human organs.

“This low-cost design and bio-printer will help close the gap between organ fabrication and organ transplantation because up to this point it’s still very expensive to fabricate a tissue or part of an organ,” said doctoral candidate Ralf Zgeib (pictured above).

The process of 3D printing tissues or constructs begins with a support bath material, comprised of nano clay. It’s mixed with deionized water and after the laponite is completely dissolved, the material becomes gel-like, making printing possible, Zgeib explained. “We are able to achieve printed constructs that look exactly like organs, and probably within the next 5 to 10 years, we can leverage the 3D bio-printing techniques and actually come up with functional organs that can help the lives of many people,” he added.

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To print 3D constructs and tissues, bio-ink is suspended in support bath material, a type of nano clay, which helps maintain the structure of the printed tissues when using low-viscosity bio-ink.

To print 3D constructs and tissues, bio-ink is suspended in support bath material, a type of nano clay, which helps maintain the structure of the printed tissues when using low-viscosity bio-ink.

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