Bioprinting is a fabrication technique to 3D print living cells and materials for tissue engineering applications. This technique allows for the development of complex tissues with precise control over geometry and cell and material placement. Using this method, clinical imaging techniques can be used to develop digital models of a patient’s anatomy which can be uploaded to a bioprinter which builds the tissue engineered construct by dispensing cells encapsulated in a bioink. A bioink is a material that supports the cells and provides the printed construct’s mechanical integrity.
Collagen hydrogels have been widely used as bioinks and in other tissue engineering applications. Collagen is a beneficial bioink because it is a major component of the native extracellular matrix; however, it has been found to be inferior to other bioinks because of low mechanical properties and poor shape fidelity. Our lab has previously shown that the mechanical properties and shape fidelity of collagen bioinks can be improved by increasing collagen concentration and is now working on further improving these bioinks by:
- Varying collagen pH [Collaborations: Histogenics, Corp.]
- Applying riboflavin crosslinking
Histogenics Corp. – Waltham, MA