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Our biofabrication and advanced scaffold design research

We use in-vitro cell culture techniques in our biofabrication research. Our aim is to develop and test bioinks and other biomaterials that can be used in additive manufacturing (or 3D bioprinting).

Our research into photo-polymerisable hydrogels offers exciting possibilities as a print medium which, when made into useful geometries and light-cured, provides structurally stable but biodegradable superstructures for hosting live cells and delivering growth and cell signaling factors.

Co-culture models are a growing area of research for us. Our combined technologies can produce complex three-dimensional living tissues, offering us better options for high-volume drug and therapies testing.

Close up of PhD candidate filling 3D printer with bioink

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Current projects

Developing smart and adaptable bioinks to bridge the gap between native and engineered cartilage tissues

Dr Gabriella Lindberg researches the design of cell-instructive photo-polymerisable hydrogels used as bioinks and bioresins in 3D bioprinting.

Her aim is to develop sophisticated print media to help engineered structures mimic the architectural organisation and biological niche of living tissues that have been lost to trauma or disease.

As new tissue is formed the microenvironments constantly change and so bioinks need to be adaptable and cued to the changing needs of the surrounding living tissues.

Understanding the interactions between materials, cells, and the extra cellular matrix, is key to developing bioresponsive biomaterials that can adapt to the spatial-temporal changes of healing tissues.

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Researching bioresin candidates for lithography-based bioprinting

Dr Caroline Murphy aims to expand the range of biomaterials used as bioresins in lithography-based bioprinting.

She assesses bioresin options for printability, print resolution, and crosslinking ability, and evaluates the biocompatibility, biological functionality, and physical properties of 3D constructs printed using these bioresins.

Understanding the performance of natural-based bioresins during lithography bioprinting and their ability to be tailored is vital in developing 3D functional tissues with complex structures and vascularised constructs with high precision.

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Engineered hybrid constructs for musculoskeletal regeneration

3D bioprinting of cell-carrier bioinks are a promising development in the generation of complex hybrid constructs used in tissue regeneration. Cesar Alcala’s research aims to develop current and new bioprinting and scaffold fabrication techniques, supporting the use of these novel bioinks when engineering functional tissue.

His project focuses on bio-assembly and advanced biofabrication strategies, and specifically targets musculoskeletal tissues such as bone and cartilage.

His aim is to translate complex hybrid constructs into an in vivo model, studying their potential for regenerative medicine applications.

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Developing a more physiologically relevant 3D breast cancer model

Incorporating breast cancer cells and adipocytes with a visible-light-cured hydrogel system (Gel-MA) is Jessika Wise’s research strategy for developing a more physiologically relevant three-dimensional breast cancer model.

This 3D co-culture model is useful for investigating interactions between breast cancer cells and adipocytes which make up a large proportion of the tumour microenvironment, as well as for testing novel therapeutics.

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Mimicking native osteochondral tissue generation

Vital to facilitating tissue regeneration is a dynamic, tissue-specific cell environment, including exposure to a range of biological and physical cues that regulate cell behaviour at the microscale (within the cellular microenvironment) and at the macroscale (across the developing tissues).

Bram Soliman aims to mimic native osteochondral tissue generation by combining novel biofabrication strategies with smart bioinks, fashioning them into 3D tissue substitutes and using them to pattern the delivery of growth and organising cues in a spatial-temporal manner.

This project offers hope for expanded treatment options in the field of personalised medical implants. The approach can also be applied to other types of tissues.

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