Additive biofabrication is the use of three-dimensional (3-D) printing technologies to create structures that can direct the behaviour of biological systems.
Our research exploits the geometrical freedoms offered by additive manufacturing and 3-D printing to direct biological systems. When backed with an understanding of structure-function relationships, it is possible to take a design-led approach to build structures that are optimal for biological function. These structures are usually complex, and it is usually only possible to manufacture them with techniques based on additive 3-D methods. Researchers in our cluster explore design, process and materials that enable this and ways in which we can incorporate cells within those structures.
Being able to exercise control over biology offers routes to having real impact. For example, there is a need to be able to produce in vitro toxicity tests that enable rapid screening of drugs to eliminate those that have adverse toxicity. If we are able to reproduce tissue structure sufficiently closely to that found in vivo, we would have the opportunity to provide industry with human in vitro tissue models that are truly predictive. In addition, cell-based therapies are a growing market, and we aim to produce structures that can support and direct cell growth and provide the basis for functional clinical products in the future.
The University of Nottingham has a rich diversity of scientific endeavour. Our cluster will bring together these diverse interests and seek out areas in biology that would benefit from a design-led manufacturing approach in 3-D printing, ultimately creating an environment where the University can become the world-leading hub for Additive biofabrication.
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