UI’s Ozbolat Discusses Future of Whole-organ Bioprinting

News media recently have carried stories about modified inkjet printers -– commonly used to print documents and photographs -– being used to print human tissue and other biological materials.

Some stories, for example, have suggested that the time for bioprinting of entire human organs may be just around the corner.

But a University of Iowa expert says that while bioprinting has the potential to revolutionize medicine, whole-organ bioprinting for the replacement human organs remains years in the future.

“Although the technology shows a great deal of promise for bioprinting at organ-level complexity, there is still a long way to go to realize this ambitious vision,” says Ibrahim Ozbolat, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering in the University of Iowa College of Engineering.

Ozbolat made the comment in a May 12 opinion article in the Cell Press journal Trends in Biotechnology.

The needed advances he lists include:
--Integration of vascular network in multiple scale.
--New cell sources and stem cell technology.
--Novel bioinks.
--Advanced, fully automated bioprinter technologies and bioprinting processes.

Ozbolat’s research activities include bioprinting pancreatic organs, bone and cartilage tissues, blood vessels and capillaries, and electrogenic organs.

Ozbolat’s research funding includes multiple awards from the National Science Foundation.