Additive Manufacturing Technologies (AMT)
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THIRST project

Tissue engineering is a highly interdisciplinary research field with the long-term goal to restore and/or replace defective tissues. In contrast to the two most widespread approaches, namely scaffold-based and a scaffold-free approach, this project aims to develop a radically new strategy combining the advantages of the two approaches.

The concept of this third strategy in tissue engineering (THIRST) relies on multicellular spheroids encaged within robust microscaffolds. By using the right combination of cells within the spheroids and by combining different types of spheroids, different types of tissues can be created by self-assembly and further optimized on a micro level to enable vascularization. The microscaffolds are initially created by means of high-resolution 3D printing (Two-Photon Polymerization) and are subsequently cultivated in combination with the cells to form the final tissue modules.


The main challenges of this project are:

• Increasing the microscaffold fabrication throughput

• Automatic handling of the microscaffolds to scale up tissue unit production

• Developing protocols for functionalization of microscaffolds with according biomolecules

• Establishing protocols for cartilage and bone tissue engineering




Contact: Prof. Dr. Aleksandr Ovsianikov,

Figure 1: SEM image of microscaffolds (A), agarose micro-well mold for cell seeding (B), illustration of the underlying tissue unit concept (C) and Live/dead staining of 4-weeks old spheroid formed inside BB, with red revealing auto-fluorescent microscaffold (D)