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Gelomics Webinar Series 2023: Associate Professor Riccardo Levato and PhD Candidate Jordan Davern

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

Welcome to our online webinar featuring two exciting presentations in the field of biofabrication and bioprinting.

Associate Professor Riccardo Levato: Biofabrication of engineered tissues and organoid-based volumetric architectures

Presentation Abstract

The function of living tissues is intimately linked to their complex architectures. Advances in biofabrication technologies offer unprecedented opportunities to capture salient features of tissue composition and thus guide the maturation of engineered constructs into mimicking functionalities of native organs. Conventional bioprinting relies on the layer-by-layer deposition of basic building blocks, following the principle of additive manufacturing. Albeit powerful and versatile, this poses relevant limitations on the production of constructs having clinically relevant size, as well as on the generation of free-form and support free overhanging, porous structures, typical of native anatomy. In this lecture, the design of novel layerless, volumetric biofabrication strategies and printable biomaterials to enable the reconstitution of complex 3D structures with precise composition is discussed. Architectures designed to stimulate the native interaction between multiple (stem) cell types and to steer the functionality of self-assembled organoids are introduced, with a particular focus on applications in liver tissue engineering, and bioengineered vascular structures. In this context, the possibility to edit in a spatio-temporal controlled fashion the biochemical make-up of the biofabricated tissue constructs will be explored, together with potential applications in tissue maturation and 4D bioprinting.

Dr. Riccardo Levato is Associate Professor at the Regenerative Medicine Center Utrecht, at the Department of Clinical Sciences, Utrecht University, and the Department of Orthopedics, University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands. He specializes in biofabrication strategies and novel biomaterials for creating tissue models and regenerative grafts, with applications both in musculoskeletal and soft tissue engineering. Dr. Levato's interdisciplinary team explores innovative light-based systems for biomedical research, organoid biology and translational regenerative medicine. He was conferred several awards including the 2016 Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine Young Investigator Award, the 2021 Jean Leray award from the European Society for Biomaterials, and the 2022 Robert Brown award from the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society. Riccardo is also serving on the Board of Directors of the International Society for Biofabrication. He holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering and has worked in various research groups across Europe in Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine.

PhD Candidate Jordan Davern: Tailorable gelatin-based bioinks with laponite for extrusion-based bioprinting

Presentation Abstract:

Bioprinting is a popular method for biofabrication using automation to produce precise tissue-like constructs. We report the development of highly printable and cytocompatible bioinks using GelMA and Laponite-RD (LPN). A full factorial rheological design was employed to develop bioinks with tailorable mechanical properties based on GelMA (5-15% w/v) with the addition of LPN (0-4% w/v). LPN improved the bioinks' shear thinning, viscoelastic behaviour, and thermal stability within the printing window (22-26 °C). Incorporating 2% LPN into GelMA 5-15% resulted in optimal rheological properties for extrusion-based bioprinting, with young's moduli ranging from ~0.2-75 kPa. The bioinks were found to be cytocompatible with MCF-7's spheroid formation and metabolic activity. The incorporation of LPN into gelatin-based bioinks enhances the rheological properties for extrusion-based bioprinting.

Jordan Davern is currently completing his industry-led PhD through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Training Centre for Cell and Tissue Engineering Technologies at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia. His research focuses on developing highly tuneable bioinks for the 3D printing of complex tumour microenvironments with precise physiochemical properties to study cancer-associated processes. Jordan completed his Bachelor of Biomedical Science and his Master of Science by research at QUT, during which he investigated the formation of bioengineered vascular networks for regenerative medicine applications. Jordan is a Production Manager at Gelomics and has overseen the development and expansion of Gelomics’ current product portfolio with experience in the development of biomaterials, quality control processes, research and development.

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