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Bio-printing Heads

Mixing two gel precursor jets in mid-air to land on a substrate as gel.

The Challenge

  • gels are attractive materials for the support and delivery of cells in cell printing experiments.
  • the aqueous environment provided by gels supports cell viability
  • most commercial bioplotters in essence use a syringe to deposit cells in gels
  • this is slow and the pressures and shear forces can harm the cells
  • there is a need for new methods of depositing cells in gels which are faster and have a higher yield of live cell

The Solution

We have developed Reactive jet impingement (ReJI). It jets two gel precursors at one another such that they mix in mid-air and land on the substrate as gel. This means that the deposited materials are still liquid when they are processed. The materials have a lower viscosity, and so lower pressures can be used and the cells remain viable.

  • this process is quick (~1000 drops per second)
  • the technique is easily scalable
  • it can provide a range of droplet volumes (nL to µL) for high resolution printing
  • print gels with a cell concentration of 40 million cells/mL routinely achievable
  • concentrations up to 90 million cells/mL have been demonstrated
  • Increased speed of maturation of micro-tissues when compared to syringe base technologies
  • potential to vary cell type and cell density, gel type and concentration, and to add nano and microparticles
  • has potential to allow for the rapid creation of complex gradient biological structures
  • is a controllable “drop on demand” system with no waste
  • currently developed as single and multiple (8 jets/4 materials produced) heads at Newcastle University

The Opportunity

  • potential for use as part of a bioprinter.
  • could create cell/gel/biomaterial structures and high resolution multi material gel matrices
  • potential to support understanding of disease progression, drug testing, personalised medicine, and tissue engineering
  • seeking collaborators interested in commercialising the print head for bioprinting applications, through collaborative research and/or licensing

Intellectual Property

A GB patent application has been filed for this technology.

  • title: Printing apparatus and method
  • application No: PCT/GB2018/051908
  • filing Date: 06/07/2017


Dr Luke Judd: