As part of the field of “BioMedical Printing Technology”, I am mainly working on Organs-on-a-Chip (OOC). These chips enable the integration of living cells into a controlled microenvironment and thus allow the modeling of certain functionalities and the physiology of human organs. My work concentrates on the replication of the blood-brain barrier on chip. This physiological barrier separates the bloodstream and nervous system by tightly connected multiple cell types and, when intact, protects the brain from pathogens and toxic substances, while allowing important nutrients to pass through the barrier to supply the brain. A replica of this barrier on chip enables research into diseases of the central nervous system (e.g. multiple sclerosis) and their treatment by analyzing the influence of active substances.
For the production of the OOCs, I combine conventional 3D printing with 3D bioprinting: A transparent DLP printing process is established for the production of the synthetic chip including microfluidic channels and cell chambers. With high-resolution two-photon lithography additional elements in the micrometer range for example a blood vessel network, can be printed into the chip. Subsequently, cells as well as bio-inks, which mimic human tissue, are specifically placed in the chip via 3D bio-printing.