The lack of sufficient numbers of donor organs for human transplantation therapies results in the loss of tens of thousands of lives and costs hundreds of billions of dollars each year in the U.S. alone. However, the ability to create, de novo, functional organ replacements for treating human pathologies is fundamentally limited by the lack of a comprehensive vascularization strategy for engineered three-dimensional (3D) tissues. We developed 3D printing materials and sacrificial casting strategies to enable the rapid fabrication of engineered tissues containing perfusable vascular architectures. Patterned vasculature facilitated capillary sprouting and supported the function of primary hepatocytes in centimeter-sized constructs. Together these technologies provide a flexible platform for a wide array of specific applications, and may enable the scaling of densely populated tissue constructs to arbitrary size.
To accomplish these goals, we actively engaged with the “Maker” community, a dynamic worldwide group of hobbyists and tinkerers, who assisted us with modifying an open-source 3D Printer for melt extrusion of sugar glass. There are tremendous opportunities to push science forward by engaging with the talent and interests of this worldwide Maker community.
About Dr. Miller:
Jordan Miller received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from MIT in 2003, and PhD in Bioengineering from Rice University in 2008. His primary research interests combine synthetic chemistry, 3D printing, microfabrication, and molecular imaging to direct cultured human cells to form more complex organizations of living vessels and tissues for research in regenerative medicine. Precisely engineered in vitro systems at the molecular, micro- and meso-scale are well suited to decouple the relationship between tissue architecture and cell function. These systems are now permitting comprehensive closed-loop design and optimization of large-scale engineered tissues through refinement with computer models of mass transport and assessment of their therapeutic potential in vivo. Jordan is the recipient of NIH NRSA fellowships at both the pre-doctoral (NIBIB F31) and post-doctoral (NHLBI F32) levels. An advocate for, and contributor to many open-source research projects, Jordan was recently named a Core Developer of the open-source RepRap 3D Printer project for the development of 3D printed carbohydrate glass for the multiscale vascularization of engineered tissues.