Optimising Inkjet Printing for Research in the Life Sciences

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Materials

Abstract

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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 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