Mechanobiological challenges related to hydrogel-based bioprinting technology for manufacturing novel 3D cell culture models

This research project is embedded in the DFG-funded Research Training Group 'Mechanobiology in Epithelial 3D Tissue Constructs (ME3T;' (RTG 2415). ME3T is a graduate school aiming to train doctoral researchers in a multidisciplinary environment by experts in biophysics, stem cell and molecular biology, materials science, bioengineering, and medicine. All the research projects in ME3T are designed to elucidate mechanical feedback cycles that determine the function and self-organization of cells and tissues in space and time with a focus on epithelial tissues.

The ultimate goal of the ZWBF project is to provide ground knowledge and tools required for the manufacturing of epithelial tissue substitutes using 3D bioprinting techniques. To do so, we will study the mechanobiological effects of dispensing techniques on epithelial cells and will develop suitable 3D in vitro tissue substitute models. Our approach addressing the challenges of 3D bioprinting is to use mathematical modeling and numerical simulation together with experimental investigations. In particular, using numerical simulations, induced shear stress and hydrostatic pressure which are crucial aspects of the bioprinting process will be investigated. In addition, in vitro experiments will be performed to reveal possible short- and long-term effects of shear stress and hydrostatic pressure on the cells and the post-printing tissue development.