Optimising Inkjet Printing for Research in the Life Sciences

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Materials

Abstract

Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Technical Summary

Experiments in cell biology are normally carried out in culture in which a single cell type is studied in detail. In real biological systems many cell types live in close proximity to each other and behaviour is governed by complex intercellular signalling. It can be difficult to culture cells in close proximity to each other and it is very difficult to prepare samples with cells of different type in defined locations. In order to enable future experiments to be carried out using multiple populations of different cells in defined locations we propose to develop inkjet printing as a method to pattern with living cells. Our earlier work has shown that, in principle, cells can be printed and that they survive the printing process. However, further work is needed to ensure that the cells are not harmed or damaged in some way by the stresses of printing. We will use analytical methods to probe for the presence of proteins in cells that are known to be used to repair damage to cells. We will use this information to optimise the printing conditions to minimise any damage that may occur. It is possible to use the features of inkjet printing that are used in graphics (the ability to print in more than one colour and the ability to print gradients or shadings) to print gradients of biochemicals and mixtures of different chemicals and use these gradient structures to explore cell behaviour. We will use a simple example of printing gradients of cell growth factors and sugars to explore how these concentrations assist in the differentiation of stem cells. We will also use the printing method to print populations of two different cell types important in the growth and maintenance of bone and cartilage in the body to explore how their proximity influences their behaviour. The overall objective of this research is to develop inkjet printing as a new tool to assist and enable experimental research in cell biology.

Publications

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Saunders R (2014) Inkjet printing biomaterials for tissue engineering: bioprinting in International Materials Reviews

 
Description This was a 12 month proof of principle award to investigate how substrates can be patterned with sugars such as heparin to influence the behaviour of stem cells attached to the surfaces. Although some encouraging results were found, the project terminated before significant findings could be achieved.
Sectors Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description New data allowed us to develop a novel cryopreservation method
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Healthcare
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description Follow-on-Funding
Amount £199,909 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/N01250X/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2016 
End 11/2017
 
Description Novel Inkjet Printing Cryopreservation Route for Stem Cell Packaging
Amount £90,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Manchester 
Department Intellectual Property
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2011 
End 02/2012
 
Description Novel Inkjet Printing Cryopreservation Route for Stem Cell Packaging
Amount £90,000 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2011 
End 04/2012
 
Description Commonwealth Split Site Studentship 
Organisation Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Joint Supervision of a research student, two 6 month visitits of research student to manchester
Collaborator Contribution Provision of student support for 12 momths
Impact Papers submitted and currently under review. Facilities access Diamond Synchrotron
Start Year 2017
 
Description DIGINOVA 
Organisation Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO)
Country Netherlands 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Part of a team developing the DIGINOVA Roadmap for applications of digital printing technology in manufacturing.
Collaborator Contribution Responsible for drafting and editing sections of the DIGINOVA Report
Impact Published road map on Digital Manufacturing
Start Year 2011
 
Description Imaging of Biological Printing for High Throughput Applications (IAA Proof of Concept Award with FFEI Ltd.) 
Organisation FFEI
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The University of Manchester is a pioneer in the field of cell printing and has been working in the field for over 10 years with EPSRC funding supporting Ph.D. studentships, A Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship(Dr. R.E. Saunders), EPSRC grant support with the most recent to Derby being EP/L012022/1 and BBSRC support e.g. BB/N01250X/1. It has also featured in the Doctoral Training Programme in Regenerative Medicine and is an important component of the Henry Royce Institute Biomaterials Theme EP/P025021/1 and EP/R00661X/1. Manchester has considerable experience in printing a range of cells and exploring the physical science aspects of the process, e.g. influence of shear flow and acoustic effects on cell viability, and machine and process development to optimise viability. The integration of cell printing with high throughput analysis remains unexplored commercially. The proposed project will exploit the several years of experience accumulated in Manchester on successful cell deposition, placement, patterning for applications in tissue engineering, medical engineering and organ-on-a-chip technology. This will provide basic understanding for the integration of a bioprinter with the imaging technology skills of the industrial partner.
Collaborator Contribution FFEI has significant, existing commercial expertise in digital scanning for whole-slide imaging in pathology and manufacturing of digital inkjet engines. This project will investigate, for the first time, combining high throughput cell printing (Manchester) and high-throughput scanning analysis techniques (FFEI) for application to drug discovery, tissue engineering and medical diagnostics.High-throughput printing of cells and biological material into discrete formations, followed by highly variable over-printing and simultaneous digital analysis, offers an all-in-one solution that is currentlynot available. This presents opportunity for FFEI to integrate and manufacture project outputs to approach new markets. The IAA proof of concept data produced will lead to a future novel and commercially viable life science device that can be developed further by FFEI.
Impact Early stages of collaboration - no outputs yet
Start Year 2020
 
Description Interview by BBC World Service (Arabic) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Laboratory visit and description of research into Bioprinting at the University of Manchester. Equipment funded by the award was discussed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Stand at Community Open Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Stand at the community festival including leapfrog printer, doodle pen Activity and hands on samples.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description Stand at Henry Royce Advanced Materials Summer School 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 3d printing Workshop. Excellent Feedback
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Stand at Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Stand at Blue Dot Science and Music Festival. 3D printing demonstration, Hands on demonstration printing conductors, Audience mainly children and young adults, team interacted and fielded questions in 3D printing and printed electronics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019