Bioprinting: Fundamentals and Applications

Type                        Lecture
Module Master
Credits 5 ECTS
Term Summer semester
Language English

Registration & Dates (Lecture)

Registration & Dates (Exercise)

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Additive manufacturing enables the generation of highly complex geometries with high flexibility compared to traditional manufacturing technologies and has received increasing attention in many fields, including biomedical engineering. Recent advances in additive manufacturing applied to biomaterials and cells resulted in an emerging technology: Bioprinting. This technology exploits the technical advancements of additive manufacturing to precisely position cells in a 3D environment to recapitulate the biochemical and biophysical properties of native tissue. In this way, 3D in vitro models of specific tissues/organs are created, which can be used for disease modeling and drug screening. The possibility of using human cells makes these models physiologically relevant and, in some aspects, more predictive of the human response to e.g. drugs than the usually employed animal models. Biologically functional models can be generated by the structural organization of living cells, bioactive molecules and biomaterials, through various bioprinting technologies, such as extrusion- and inkjet-based processes or laser-induced forward transfer. With applications ranging from disease modeling, drug discovery to personalized medicine and investigation of fundamental biological mechanisms, bioprinting is a fast-progressing field, gaining relevance in high-impact translational work as well as showing tremendous potential for various industrial applications.

The module “Bioprinting” provides an overview of this multidisciplinary research area and the knowledge in bioprinting technologies, bioinks, 3D in vitro models and organoids. The course starts with an overview of the historical developments and the general motivation to manufacture biologically functional tissue. Next, established extrusion-, droplet- and laser-based bioprinting technologies as well as emerging approaches (e.g. microfluidic bioprinting, volumetric bioprinting) are discussed with respect to their advantages and disadvantages, and fields of application. The course highlights the printing parameters as well as methods to assess extrudability and shape fidelity. Fundamental basics in cell culture are introduced to understand the general biological requirements as well as design criteria for bioinks to encapsulate cells. To familiarize students with translational aspects, the course discusses the regulatory considerations for bioprinting processes and products. The course will explain technical as well as interdisciplinary competences, which are not only relevant to the field of bioprinting, but also relevant for biomedical engineering in general.

The following topics are covered in this module (subjected to change):

  • Introduction to bioprinting: historical developments, motivation and applications
  • Definition and comparison of state-of-the-art bioprinting technologies
  • Introduction to basics cell culture and stem cells
  • Classification and design criteria for bioinks
  • Fundamentals and applications of crosslinking methods in bioprinting
  • Methods to evaluate the extrudability, shape fidelity, and printing accuracy
  • Methods to assess cell viability and proliferation
  • In vitro 3D models of human tissue/organs and organoids: biofabrication and potential
  • Translational applications and future challenges
  • Regulatory considerations for processes and products


Learning outcomes:

After successful participation in the module "Bioprinting", the students are able to

  • understand the operating principles of bioprinting technologies
  • evaluate the existing bioprinting technologies and their specific advantages and disadvantages
  • demonstrate an understanding of the design criteria for bioinks and formulate bioink specifications for bioprinting technologies and application areas
  • describe methods to assess cell viability and proliferation
  • analyze current challenges in the field of biofabrication
  • formulate regulatory consideration for processes and products