KGAN-TV: Art and Science Merge in 3D Organ Printing

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lizzie Ginsberg makes just a few clicks of the mouse, and the 3D printer at M.C. Ginsberg is fired up. Eight different printer heads run back and forth, building up liquid plastic that will turn into an actual ring -- or in other cases, a replica of someone's actual heart.

"Hearts and engagement rings, big parts of people's lives," said Ginsberg.

The jewelry stores recently started partnering with several different programs at the University of Iowa, putting its 3D services to work. They recently printed a small-scale version of a patient's heart cat scan.

"You have this replica, you can turn it around and see it, and it can reach more people," said Ginsberg.

The 3D printing happening at the store is aiding some of the research surrounding the 3D printing of organs at the Engineering Research Facility at UI. The M.C. Ginsberg printer recently made some nozzles for researcher Ibrahim Ozbolat, who is working on printing 3D pancreas, with working veins. He used to print organs with something called Bio Ink, but now he's printing with real pieces of tissue filament.

"So we try to combine these two together and make a vascularized tissue," Ozbolat said.

And with lines for organ donations growing longer and longer, Ozbolat said it only makes sense that more people want to get involved. He said it gives them hope. "So that is the main motivation behind our research," Ozbolat said.

The folks at M.C. Ginsberg are just trying to spread that hope a little farther.

"I never thought that I would potentially be able to save someone's life, but knowing that I might have a little bit in that is just really fulfilling," Ginsberg said.

Ozbolat is hoping to have a vascularized pancreas that could survive in lab conditions in three years. After that, he is unsure how long it would take to make one that would survive in a human body.

To view the video, go to