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3D Printing of Biomaterials Demonstrated to Commerce Under Secretary

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Article Posted On 10/9/2013

On a recent visit to Carnegie Mellon University, U.S. Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Mark Doms received a demonstration of the work Dr. Adam Feinberg and his research team have been developing on the 3D printing of biological soft materials. Dr. Feinberg - assistant professor of biomedical engineering and materials science & engineering - and his biomedical engineering doctoral students T.J. Hinton, John Szymanski, and Rebecca Duffy presented their approach to 3D printing that allows for not just tissue, but also soft biomaterials, to be "printed."

They presented printed models of a human coronary artery and a rat femur. Objects like these - made up of delicate, soft biomaterials - are now able to be printed with greater 3D complexity, thanks to the Feinberg team's innovative method. In order to print these biomaterials, they are placed into a unique support bath during the printing process. This bath keeps the delicate materials from collapsing under their own weight as they would if they were printed in air or in other bath materials.

As well as being innovative, Dr. Feinberg and his team have created an approach that requires little additional cost over existing methods, by simply modifying an inexpensive consumer-grade 3D printer to perform this bioprinting.