Development of enzymatically crosslinked collagen bioinks for 3D bioprinting
Professor: Lawrence Bonassar
Bioprinting, or the use of 3D printing technology to produce scaffolds and cellularized tissue constructs, is becoming prominent in the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine fields. Collagen, a natural polymer predominant in almost all biological tissues, is a promising bioink, or printing material, due to its biocompatibility and temperature-dependent gelation. Our lab has previously found that the printability of collagen bioinks can be improved by incorporating riboflavin photocrosslinking. However, this crosslinking technique results in reduced cell viability and non-uniform crosslinking. Transglutaminase is an enzyme which has been shown to crosslink collagen fibers and increase the mechanical strength of collagen gels. However, it is unclear how this enzymatic crosslinking would affect collagen printability.
The student working on this project will be responsible for determining the effect of enzymatic crosslinking on collagen rheology and printability and for characterizing cell viability after enzymatic crosslinking. Ideally students will be majoring in biomedical engineering or have biology experience and majoring in mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, or materials science and engineering. An ideal student would also have completed coursework in fluid mechanics, biomaterials, and cell biology and have experience with mammalian cell culture and polymer rheology.