P20677: Microfluidic 3D Bioprinter
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This project is documented on Confluence here: https://wiki.rit.edu/display/P20677/Project+Overview

3D printing is a rapidly growing field that is becoming increasingly popular for constructing living tissues. Bioprinters have been used to print complex combinations of biocompatible hydrogels and cell populations with great accuracy. A layer of viscous biocompatible material is applied with one print head and cross-linked with a UV light source. Cells suspended in a bio-ink are then deposited on top of this gel with a separate print head. This technique requires a unique print head for each different hydrogel or cell population, reducing both the print speed and maximum print size, while drastically increasing complexity. 3D printed hydrogels must also be UV crosslinked with a separate light source, which further increases print time and can have a negative effect on cells.

Both of these issues can be solved with the addition of microfluidic fluid routing devices. A single device the size of a glass slide could handle all the fluid routing for multiple hydrogels and allow the printer to easily switch between them. By changing the pressure of individual fluid reservoirs, the printer could quickly switch between different materials without requiring extra heads or switching steps. This technique also simplifies the coding of the printer, increases maximum printable area, and reduces the time spent switching materials. The incorporation of a microfluidic print head also allows the printer to crosslink the hydrogel material within the printhead. In this way, hydrogel material could enter the microfluidic chip as liquid, be crosslinked by a directed UV beam, and exit the printhead as a solid gel. This would allow the printer to create strands of aligned collagen with high precision, which is very useful for cell and tissue culture because it is analogous to how collagen is structured in the body. The addition of a microfluidic chip would also allow the 3D bioprinter to create more complex structures by harnessing techniques like hydrodynamic focusing. Flow focusing would allow cells to be printed within channels of hydrogel, allowing the printer to create more complex structures.

The current prototype has a functioning microfluidic printhead with x,y, and z control. The next steps for this project will be generation of a 3D structure and incorporation of live cells into the hydrogel. Further stages of the project could include incorporation of multiple hydrogels to allow for sacrificial components, prototyping nanocomposite gels to improve mechanical properties, and addition of UV crosslinking functionality to the printer.

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Project Name
Microfluidic Bioprinter
Project Number
P20677
Project Family
project family (if relevant)
Start Term
2019
End Term
2020
Faculty Guide
Cory Stiehl, cksbme@rit.edu
Primary Customer
Vinay Abhyankar, vvabme@rit.edu
Sponsor (financial support)
Vinay Abhyankar, vvabme@rit.edu
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Team Members

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Member Role Contact
Grant Korensky Mechanical Engineering gfk8360@rit.edu
Nicholas Lee Biomedical Engineering nkl8768@rit.edu
Anthony Aggouras Biomedical Engineering ana6847@rit.edu
Shriji Patel Biomedical Engineering sxp4523@rit.edu
Charif Elmoussaoui Electrical Engineering cxe3715@rit.edu
Cody Lentz Mechanical Engineering cjl5831@rit.edu

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