3D BioPrinting of Cardiac Micro-Tissues
Nearly 50% of the US population suffers from cardiovascular diseases, accounting for massive heath care costs. Moreover, 45% of all drugs are removed from the market due to issues related to the cardiovascular diseases, motivating the need for better predictive models in the preclinical setting. Current techniques primarily use 2D cell cultures or animal models, which do not recapitulate the complex 3D architecture of the heart or translate well to humans, respectively. The use of digital light processing (DLP) bioprinting in tissue engineering is a promising biomanufacturing technique due to its rapid speed, high resolution, and biocompatibility. To this end, I first developed a biocompatible, photopolymerizable, click-chemistry-based biomaterial for tissue engineering, and evaluated the mechanical and biochemical properties of the hydrogel. Next, I developed a high-throughput, 3D-bioprinted cardiac micro-tissue model presenting a high level of cellular alignment and maturity. The micro-tissue was 3D bioprinted using photopolymerizable polymers, human induced pluripotent stem cell cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs), and cardiac fibroblasts. Last, I evaluated the cardiac micro-tissue as a predictive model for drug and nanoparticle toxicity testing using well known drugs, isoproterenol and verapamil, and the environmental pollutant, CuO.