Researchers are now exploring the technology to print human tissues and organs. However, the lack of good inks for 3-D bioprinting remains a barrier. Kyungsuk Yum, an assistant professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department of UTA’s College of Engineering, has recently earned a USD 100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop nanocomposite hydrogel bioinks that could be used for that purpose.
Inks for bioprinting must be 3-D printable and biocompatible. They must form to their intended shape and be used safely with living cells. “Ideally, bioinks should be liquid-like during the printing process, but solid-like after. We are developing a nanocomposite bioink that incorporates carbon nanotubes,” Yum said. “Our bioink will change its mechanical properties and become liquid-like when pressure is applied for printing, but revert to a solid-like material when that pressure is released after printing.”
Stathis Meletis, chair of UTA’s Materials Science and Engineering Department, says that Yum’s grant underscores the University’s emphasis on health and the human condition.
The Yum Research Group at UTA focuses on integrating man-made and nature’s micro- and nano-scale materials, processes and systems for engineering innovation. The lab works on research projects at the intersection of physical sciences and engineering, and life sciences and biomedicine at that micro- and nano-scale.