Printing microvessels for organoid bioengineering

by Adrian Ranga, KU Leuven – Laboratory of Bioengineering and Morphogenesis

Organoids are increasingly widespread model systems for answering fundamental questions in developmental biology, and serve as potential building blocks for regenerative medicine applications. However, current approaches to recreate organoid morphogenesis in vitro rely on poorly controllable and ill-defined culture conditions, thereby largely overlooking the contribution of extracellular factors in promoting multicellular growth.

Additionally, organoids lack perfusable vasculature, thereby limiting their growth potential. In this talk, I will outline how we tackle the challenge of building enhanced, biomimetic organoids using modular synthetic matrices and microdevices, as well as by generating de novo vasculature using 3D printing approaches.

These approaches have potential for wide applications in the field of tissue engineering, where we are now beginning to recapitulate tissue architecture at various scales of organization.



What drives you?
Fun. The fun of science – asking why things work. The fun of engineering – figuring out how to make things work.

Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
You will see how new technologies in printing high-resolution soft structures can be interfaced with perfusion and made to interact with living tissue.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
Interfacing soft and hard materials with living tissue, while including flow.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
In a first step, more biomimetic tissue models for drug discovery, drug screening, ADMET. In a later step, perspectives for regenerative medicine. Finally, in all cases, new insights into how cells organize themselves into tissues.

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
Tissue and organ architecture is highly complex – we need to understand how much of it we can engineer and how much can self-organize.

“Special quote”
Synthetic materials and 3D printed microvessels – building engineered tissues.

About Adrian Ranga

Adrian Ranga is Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KU Leuven, where he heads the Laboratory of Bioengineering and Morphogenesis.

He is a bioengineer with a multidisciplinary background in mechanical engineering (B.Eng,M.Eng McGill University), synthetic biomaterials, microfluidics (PhD, EPFL) and developmental biology (Post-Doc, Harvard Medical School). He has pioneered the use of 3D combinatorial microarrays to explore the role of the microenvironment on stem cell differentiation and organoid patterning.

Since starting his research group in Belgium in 2016, his focus has been on developing novel bioengineering approaches to understand in-vitro morphogenesis in neural and paraxial mesoderm organoid model systems. His group investigates the role of active mechanical forces in coordinating organoid fate specification, growth and patterning, and develops modular microfluidic tools to microvascularize organoids and create programmable morphogen fields to shape synthetic morphogenesis.

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