Northeastern University’s Department of Bioengineering are working on the advancement of 3D bioprinting which could revolutionise vascular disease treatment.
A new faculty member at the university is pioneering a technology which will bring bioengineering solutions to challenges in vascular biology. Specifically, Associate Professor Guohao Dai is 3D bioprinting live tissue with vascular perfusion.
Dai has developed a 3D bioprinter to create tissue cultures for use in human disease modelling and drug discovery. The development is potentially revolutionary, since the process cannot be completed with a commercial 3D-printer due to their typically harsh environments.
“It requires a very gentle process to build a live tissue,” Dai explained. “If we use an industrial 3D-printer to print live tissue, all the cells would be dead.”
The research is focused largely on using bioengineering to generate insights into blood vessel regeneration and vascular disease. His 3D-printer, for which he developed both the hardware and software, can print tissues with small channels that function as blood vessels. While his work hasn’t yet replicated human tissue yet, it is one step closer to fabricated tissue with blood flow.
To better understand the disease, Dai, who received a National Science Foundation Career Award to advance stem cell research, is funded by the National Institute of Health and the American Heart Association. This funding will allow him to study the molecular differences between arteries and veins. Overall, the goal of the research is to provide a basis for developing novel therapeutic approaches to vascular-related disorders such as cardiovascular and neurovascular diseases and cancer progression in blood vessels.
Recently recruited by Northeastern, Dai was previously at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He received his doctorate degree in biomedical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed his post-doctoral training in vascular biology at Harvard Medical School. He received his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in biomechanics and mechanics, respectively, from Peking University in China.