Musculoskeletal soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, and knee menisci are characterized by unique organization cells and extracellular matrix, which is central to their primary functions. It is important to recapitulate this naturally-occurring organization while biofabricating engineered tissues in order for them to be functionally biomimetic. The Shirwaiker group has been developing acoustophoretic approaches in which ultrasound is used to organize cells and extracellular constituents within the bioink into desired patterns during biofabrication of the constructs. The ultrasound-assisted processes have to be optimized based on properties of the bioinks, cell types, and desired tissue-specific organization. This service project will focus on characterizing the effects of key ultrasound-assisted bioprinting parameters on functional properties of constructs of selected bioinks developed in TR&D2 (e.g., cartilage-derived ECM bioink, silk-reinforced bioinks for fibrocartilaginous tissues) for musculoskeletal tissue applications.
The SP aims to investigate the interactions between ultrasound-assisted bioprinting parameters (e.g., frequency, amplitude, extrusion pressure, UV exposure duration) and bioink properties (e.g., viscosity, fibrous concentration), and their synergistic effect on the matrix organization and cellular responses of various bioink constructs.