3D Printing in Tissue Engineering

Integration of Additive Manufacturing / 3D Printing technologies into a Tissue Engineering lab course

Supported by an Innovation Across the Curriculum grant from the Dean of Engineering in 2012, we are working over the next 2 years to incorporate low cost, open source 3D printers and software into the Tissue Engineering lab course.  There are multiple reasons to do this spanning from classroom teaching to hands-on laboratory demonstrations and experiments.

Key Educational Objectives:

  1. Build 3D anatomical models for hands-on classroom demonstration of normal/healthy tissues that need repair.  Example, bone defects.
  2. Use polylactic acid (PLA) 3D printers in the laboratory as a hands on demonstration of how 3D printers work, teaching the entire workflow from CAD to printed scaffold.
  3. Build PLA scaffolds with varying degrees of porosity to demonstrate how structure affects biodegradation rates.
  4. Develop lab module where students design a scaffold in CAD, print the scaffold, determine how to sterilize it, seed with cells and evaluate the cellular response.
  5. Provide the 3D printer as resource for student-designed tissue engineering experiments.