In implant development, there is great interest in the production of personalized implants from patient's own cells. In the field of tissue engineering, 3D-bioprinting has become a well-established method for creating such hierarchically structured tissue. Despite initial successes in the cultivation of tissues such as bone and muscle tissue, purely bioprinted tissues often lack mechanical stability, which limits their suitability as implants. The research topic “Biohybrid Implants” at the Department of BioMedical Printing Technology is focusing on precisely these problems and is attempting to find a solution through the integration of textile fiber reinforcement. The three biggest technological challenges that stand in the way of this goal are:
• the hierarchical structuring of different cell types and matrix materials,
• ensuring the supply of nutrients in cell structures several millimeters thick,
• achieving the required mechanical properties (strength, elasticity, anisotropy).
My research deals with the combination of a conventionally manufactured fiber composite and 3D-bioprinting. The fiber composite is a so-called spacer fabric that offers adjustable mechanical properties. Through targeted combination with cell-laden hydrogels, these should be cultivated into functional biological tissues and enable three-dimensional implant structures. As part of my project, I am therefore investigating the fiber-matrix interaction and the cell biological characterization.