Moroni Lab – Largest European 3D bioprinting program launched by Maastricht University, Brightlands Materials Center. It looks like Maastricht University is rapidly becoming one of Europe’s key centers for medical 3D printing efforts. Just this month, they spearheaded the new €4.6 million PRosPERoS project for 3D printed joint implant development, while researchers from Maastricht’s Moroni lab pioneered 3D bioprinted scaffolds that control stem cell differentiation.
And just last Thursday, Maastricht cardiologists showcased a 3D printed heart valve surgery simulator for educational purposes. And now, partly through the efforts of that same Moroni Lab, Maastricht University and the Brightlands Materials Center have started the biggest 3D bioprinting research program in European history. Their goal? To bring various 3D printed tissues, including bone and organ tissues, to clinical trials.
The Moroni Lab itself can already be found at the forefront of European 3D bioprinting and biofabrication efforts. The lab was founded two years ago, as part of the MERLN institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine at Maastricht University. Their roots can be actually be traced to the University of Twente in 2009, when the research group was first set up. Since then, they have grown into a key member of the Brightlands ecosystem, which is working to establish new biomedical 3D printing programs in collaboration with clinical hospital departments. The Moroni Lab is further backed by various European initiatives and linked to various international biofabrication efforts.
Many of those partners are now also involved in this gargantuan 3D printing initiative, which includes both public and private partners such as DSM, Dutch research institution TNO and the Province of Limburg. As the Maastricht team revealed, this initiative itself grew from the observation that various technological and material challenges cannot be overcome without a significant collaborative impulse. Together, they say, they can facilitate the translation of 3D printed and biofabricated products to the clinics.