“3D Biofabrication of soft tissue : Material challenges” – Presented by Ahmed Aied, Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, University of Nottingham

Three dimensional bioprinting is being applied to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine as a manufacturing tool to produce 3D tissues and organs suitable for transplantation. In the present study, we use micro-extrusion based 3D bioprinting of hydrogels embedded with genetically corrected keratinocytes from recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) to create skin grafts.

We first transfected the cells with highly efficient non-viral transfection vectors to generate collage type VII expressing RDEB keratinocytes that were previously incapable of producing the protein. It is our hypothesis that 3D bioprinting of these cells into functional skin equivalents can accelerate the wound healing process and prevents further blistering in RDEB patients. To print the cells into functional epidermal and dermal layers, a multi-responsive polymer (to temperature and UV light) is used.

Having these properties means this polymer can be easily tailored for 3D bioprinting and provides accurate control over the final mechanical properties of the hydrogel. The 3D printing presented an added advantage over conventional hydrogel preparations by replicating the wound bed structure and incorporating composite hydrogels for improved blood circulation and anti-inflammatory drug delivery.

About Ahmed Aied

Ahmed is a Cascade fellow at the school of pharmacy (University Of Nottingham) from the second call of the fellowship. CASCADE-FELLOWS is an exciting international fellowship programme for talented young researchers in Life Sciences, supported by the EU Marie Curie COFUND scheme.

This fellowship funds a multi-disciplinary project in two of the most exciting and recent areas in medical research; tissue engineering, and 3D printing. In particular, his research is focused on developing smart and multi-responsive biomaterials for soft tissue repair utilizing accurate structural building through 3D printing.

Ahmed graduated with PhD in biomedical engineering in 2014 and has published more than 10 peer-reviewed papers in the field of tissue engineering and biopolymers. His aim is to build on this research by developing smart biomaterials for applications in tissue engineering.

About Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham

This team (led by Professor Shakesheff and Drs Rose and Buttery) is affiliated with the Wolfson Centre for Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering & Modelling, within the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences (CBS).

CBS houses over 300 scientists in an environment that promotes core science and interdisciplinary research.
A total of £40 million has been invested to create an excellent blend of chemistry and biology laboratories.

The overall aim of tissue engineering research is to develop approaches to help restore full function and integrity to a tissue or organ that has been lost or damaged either through disease, congenital defect or traumatic injury. To achieve this, tissue engineering requires the ability to understand and co-ordinate the complex interactions between cells, inductive signals and scaffolds.