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First step towards Bioprinting

In Gu Research lab, we have a bioprinter that remains largely underutilized by students. This is not due to a lack of usefulness, but rather because only a few students are interested in exploring bioprinting. Our lab's primary focus lies in design and material optimization, which may explain this limited enthusiasm.

Personally, I have always been hesitant to use the bioprinter due to my unfamiliarity with its operation. Despite my experience in the additive manufacturing field since 2013 and my use of various types of 3D printers, I have yet to work with a pneumatic controlled bioprinter like the BioX by Cellink.

Figure 1. BioX image from the Cellink official site

In line with my commitment to implementing atomic habits, I took a decisive step today. I began by simply turning on the machine, which may seem small but was significant in overcoming my initial fear. Encouraged by this progress, I proceeded to follow an online tutorial, and to my delight, successfully completed my first-ever print of a gel-based ear scaffold.

Although I used gel-based material and it may not fit the conventional definition of bioprinting, trying out this new fabrication method marked a significant milestone for me.

However, as a researcher, I find myself questioning the necessity of bioprinting. I wonder if high-resolution parts could be achieved more effectively through CNC machining. At first glance, it appears that the potential applications truly requiring bioprinting might involve multimaterial printing or the creation of specific 3D structures that cannot be easily fabricated using traditional methods. To explore this further, I plan to conduct a literature review and see where it leads me in formulating new research questions.

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