Breaking Barriers – Printing Vascularized Skin

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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 and temperature controlled printhead Karande and his team have developed a bioink which includes human endothelial cells, human pericyte cells and animal collagen. The temperature stability and cell friendly design ensure that these constructs could be printed.


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 can be exchanged keeping the graft alive. Furthermore, the groups significant development highlights the vast potential of 3D bioprinting in precision medicine, where solutions can be tailored to specific situations.

Watch Professor Karande discuss his work here:

Read more

Tânia Baltazar, Jonathan Merola, Carolina Catarino, Catherine B. Xie, Nancy C. Kirkiles-Smith, Vivian Lee, Stephanie Hotta, Guohao Dai, Xiaowei Xu, Frederico C. Ferreira, W. Mark Saltzman, Jordan S. Pober, and Pankaj Karande.Tissue Engineering Part A.Mar 2020.227-238.

See a video on how the system works in practice

Get the link to the full video below, or watch the abridged version on our Youtube channel.

BIO X6 - Demo

BIO X6 - Demo