3D-Printed Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering – Materials and Applications

presentation by Dr. Ruth Houbertz, ThinkMade Engineering & Consulting

Optical technologies cover a broad range of applications which make use of the generation and the manipulation of light, and they open a wide field of novel applications when combined with (bio-) medicine. Many efforts have been made to develop laser light sources in order to continuously increase their application potential.

With the postulation of two-photon absorption in 1931 and the invention of ultra-fast lasers which led to the experimental demonstration of this effect in 1997, many different applications were addressed, and the interaction of ultra-short laser pulses with polymer, ceramic, or glass materials is of high technological interest. Since the triggered reactions are strongly confined to the focal region, the formation of free-form 3D-printed micro and nano structures can be easily carried out with highest precision.

The appeal of the method is that it provides an intrinsically scalable technology which is particularly beneficial for the fabrication of scaffolds for tissue engineering application, microfluidic cells, or drug delivery systems. Restoration of diseased or damaged tissue remains one of the great challenges in regenerative medicine. The growth of cells on 3D porous scaffolds for tissue engineering (TE) is a promising approach to generate autologous tissue.

Scaffold structures should not only have minimal feature sizes, but also large overall sizes to be useful for application. For biomedical applications, the materials should be biocompatible and/or biodegradable. Thus, investigating both, underlying processes initiated via illumination and the applied materials is crucial for the fabrication of functionalized structures for biomedical applications by two-photon polymerization (2PP).

Suitable functionalization creates binding sites for, e.g. biomolecules and cells. Therefore, the ability to control the spatial chemistry, the geometrical patterning, and the stiffness of the desired substrate and post-processing steps might provide important insights into the fundamental aspects of cell-scaffold interactions. This might be translated into tissue engineering approaches with focus on a precise control of cell adhesion, spreading, growth, and differentiation provided by chemically and spatially designed surfaces, which were created by 2PP lithography. The scalability of the method from the micro to the macro range will be discussed with respect to the underlying materials.

program: https://www.3dbioprintingconference.com/program/


What drives you?

As a extremely curious person I always want to boost the limits of technology to find the best angle to collaborate, to transfer technologies to application, and finally to products.

Why should the delegate attend your presentation?

I will give an overview about works on scaffold fabrication and discuss the interactions with the underlying materials, hybrid polymers and ceramics. Light-matter interactions is the keys to understand and to drive the upscaling to useful structures.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?

Bioprinting, Augmented Reality, and Human Machine Interfacing.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?

I expect a new kind of access to medicine for patients and doctors including their education and training on the job.

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?

Fear of new technologies and restricted mindset of people. Both have to be addressed to really take the next steps and to result in benefit for people.

“Special Quote”

Never give up a 360 degree view to follow your path. Be passionate and authentic in your approaches, and never give up learning. Stay open.

Dr. Ruth Houbertz. Physicist. President & Founder of Multiphoton Optics GmbH, CEO, CTO (9/2013-8/2020). Different technical and management positions in Technology Development and Materials at Fraunhofer ISC (–9/2014). Worked at Sandia Nat.’l Labs in Livermore, USA (5/1999–6/2000). Staff Scientist at Saarland University (1993–1999), established an SXM, Analytics, and E-Beam Lithography Team. PhD on Silicon Processing (Ulm University 1993). Passionate entrepreneur. Solid technology and business background. Invented more than 120 patents. Evaluator, monitor, referee, editor. More than 19 Awards and Nominations, e.g. Winner of Best of Industry 2018, Cowin of Entrepreneurship 2014, SPIE Green Photonics 2013, Fraunhofer 2007. SPIE Fellow. Senator of Economy. Elected Member of SPIE Board of Directors (1/2021–).

3D Bioprinting Conference focuses on 3D bioprinting, the most disruptive application of 3D printing in the medical world, and latest developments and applications in the field. The conference is addressed to health care innovators, from tissue engineers to biomedical researchers and from hardware manufacturers to bio medical material suppliers. It is not a purely academic conference, but an innovative event bringing together brilliant minds and discoveries.

Ruth Houbertz will be speaking at the conference.

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