Breaking Barriers – Printing Vascularized Skin


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Research team

Pankaj Karande, Tânia Baltazar, Jonathan Merola, Carolina Catarino, et al.


Today’s synthetic skin graft products accelerate wound healing but eventually fall off because they never integrate with the patient’s skin tissue. The absence of a functioning vascular system in the synthetic grafts is a significant barrier.


Using their BIO X 3D bioprinter and a temperature controlled printhead, Karande and his team developed a bioink that includes human endothelial cells, human pericyte cells and animal collagen. The temperature stability and cell-friendly design ensure that these constructs could be bioprinted.


This combination of key elements enabled the cells to start communicating and more importantly begin forming a biologically relevant vascular structure within the span of a few weeks. With blood vessels beginning to form, nutrients and waste could be exchanged to keep the graft alive. Furthermore, this significant development highlights the vast potential of 3D bioprinting in precision medicine, where solutions can be tailored to specific situations.

Watch video of Professor Karande discussing his work here:

Read more

Tânia Baltazar, Jonathan Merola, Pankaj Karande et al. Tissue Engineering Part A. 2020