I-Corps: A customizable handheld bioprinter for the in situ deposition of self-healing and polymer-based hydrogels

Project: Research project

Project Details


The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is the development of a surgical tool for delivery of soft implants and biomaterials into wound sites and desired organs. Current approaches are limited by the design of the biomaterial that results in inadequate stiffness and low adhesion to host tissue and injections from a needle that are inadequate for large voids, such as surgically-resected tumor regions. The proposed technology allows easy, rapid and more controlled delivery of multi-component biomaterials for tissue reconstruction surgery. It may minimize operative risks involved during complex procedures, reduce susceptibility to infection, and decrease the duration of anesthesia exposure. It may be translated into other clinical applications by providing a rapid delivery of functional implants for all reconstruction surgeries. This I-Corps project will advance translation of a customizable handheld bioprinter, which allows for the in situ deposition of self-healing and polymer-based hydrogels to fabricate stable and functional tissue implants. Such hydrogels are based on guest–host physical interactions of a macrocyclic host and a complementary guest molecule. In addition, the proposed technology uses UV crosslinking of methacrylate groups in the hydrogel for long-term stability of the implant. The device is an additive manufacturing tool based on a custom-made, endoscopic-sized, handheld bioprinter. This device provides simultaneous extrusion of biomaterials into multi-layered concentric layers of blunt needles where the needle lengths are selected to control movement and dispensing over the structure bioprinted. Advantages of this technology include a modular mixing chamber for blending of multi-component biomaterials, a flexible, ergonomic handle that may be adopted to surgical robots/tools, a significant level of control over deposition of multi-component biomaterials over tissue sites, and a high-aspect ratio for hard-to-reach organs.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date1/1/21 → 12/31/21


  • National Science Foundation: $50,000.00


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