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Changing the face of 3D Printing, Biotech, and Additive Manufacturing with Dr. Shweta Agarwala

Interviewed by Cecillia Wong

Dr. Shweta Agarwala is a research scientist at Singapore Centre for 3D Printing in Nayang Technological University. She combines her multidisciplinary knowledge in electronics, materials science, manufacturing and bio-engineering for materials and new-age products catering to wearables, flexible electronics and bioelectronics. She is a leading innovator in 3D printing and additive manufacturing space for electronics and biotechnology.

Cecillia: Tell us about some of the exciting things your lab is currently working on.
Dr. Agarwala: My current research is directed towards bioprinting, bioelectronics, and printed electronics. My rendezvous with bioprinting is quite new and I am trying to understand how process control can be exploited to arrange multi-materials in desired architectures and incorporate additional functionalities with full spatial control. I am especially passionate about bioelectronics, an area of research that promises to bring two distinct …

What is a Lab-on-a-Chip?

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A lab-on-a-chip is a miniature device that allows the user to integrate several analyses such as DNA sequencing or biochemical detection on a low-cost chip. Lab-on-a-chip research mainly focuses on human diagnostics and biosensing. LOCs allow for reduction of cost through faster analysis of reagents and response time. This helps achieve high-throughput screening and automation of biochemical steps / processes onto a single device.

Advantages of lab-on-a-chip devices are generally specialized to their application. Common advantages of LOCs are: waste reduction, efficient resource usage, increased process control, and quicker analysis and response times. Compared to normal experiments, LOCs utilize less sample volumes due to the use of microfluidics. This generates lower reagent costs. Microfluidic chips also allow for increased process control due to faster system responses(5). The shorter diffusion distance also allows for rapid results, reducing response times and enabling faster ana…

Ethics of Bioprinting Organs: Can you put a price on life?

Written by Ria Bhatia

Over the past three decades, the field of 3D bioprinting has emerged, creating endless possibilities for scientific progress. However, there are significant ethical dilemmas that come with this contemporary technology. One of the significant dichotomies in the bioprinting community is caused by those who support the idea of printing organs and those who do not.

Throughout the history of organ transplantation, the process has been and continues to be vitiated by the lack of available organs and the long waiting lists for patients to receive a transplant. Currently, about 20 people die every day while on the waiting list [1]. Although it may seem as though bioprinting is the solution to the organ shortage epidemic, there are ethical concerns to this supposed panacea.


When the first bioprinted organ is successfully manufactured, the question will arise: will this new technology only benefit the rich? This may very well be a reality of this nascent industry: bioprint…

Bioprinting Industry Highlights of Q2 2018

New Methods
Researchers at UCLA, Harvard, UC San Diego, University of Santiago de Compostela, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Sharif University of Technology have collaborated to create a stereolithographic bioprinting platform capable of printing with multiple materials [1]. This novel device utilizes a digital micromirror device, a moving stage, and a microfluidic device with four pneumatic valves to rapidly switching between various bioinks for multimaterial printing [2]. The micromirror incorporates a UV lamp, digital mirroring device chipset, Keplerian optical setup, and a microscope objective to focus and adjust light intensity on a DMD chip [3]. The light beam is generated into different patterns on the chip using CAD. The microscopic objected focuses the selected pattern at the optimal length where photosensitive hydrogels can be be exposed to UV light to crosslink, solidify, and create complex structures [4]. While the bioprinter has successfully demonstrated printing with f…

Moving to a New Site

Dear Bioenthusiasts and STEM Advocates,

Thank you following us through our three year journey with Blogger! As we've grown from a small startup sponsored by the National Science Foundation to the established company with a wide range of industry partners.

SE3D has a commitment to bringing quality content in a timely manner. We have decided to change our bi-monthly blog to a weekly blog with new content focused on bioprinting industry highlights, researcher spotlights, Women In STEM, and biomaterials. It is with this transition that we have decided to focus solely on updating our blog on our website.

Thank you for all your support. Don't worry, all the old content on Blogger will remain but you can follow our new content here.

Thank you,
Team SE3D

Design Thinking and Bioprinting With Ohlone College

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Design thinking is an invaluable skill that incorporates holistic first-person perspectives with rational and analytical thinking to arrive at creative solutions. It is an effective approach to tackling complex business, social, and technological problems. When design thinking is applied to healthcare and medicine, it leads to an innovative solution that may be more effective than other methods.x


The principles of design thinking can be summed up in five simple steps: 1. Empathize with the users 2. Define the user’s needs and problems along with your own insights 3. Ideate by challenging assumptions and create new concepts and thought processes 4. Prototype by creating different solutions 5. Test out all the solutions

In early March, we collaborated with Ohlone College to run a special projects program for the CTE Health Science Pathway. The purpose of the project was to promote design thinking as a strategy for innovation. We introduced a new technology, bioprinting, and posed challenges in…

Bioprinting Industry Highlights of Q1 2018

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x New Methods
A team from the University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan campus has developed a new technique called direct laser bioprinting (DBLP), which allows researchers to print living tissues instrumental to cancer research. This method entails utilizing a laser diode to photo-crosslink at a wavelength of 405 nm, enabling researchers to print artificial tissues at an unprecedented resolution and level of precision [1]. The tissues printed using this method can also sustain living cells with an unparalleled 95% effectiveness, meaning that cells can successfully survive on the engineered tissue structures [2]. The UBC team postulated and determined that DBLP can be utilized in “cell-laden hydrogel microgrids, hydrogel microwells, cell seeding, and cell encapsulation,” [3] adding to its appeal as a key innovation. According to lead researcher Dr. Keekyoung Kim, these findings have numerous potential applications, “from helping people suffering from ailments such as severe burns o…

Beginners Guide to Bioprinting: Alginate as a Biomaterial

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Here is the 2nd blog to our series of beginners guide to bioprinting. The purpose of this guide is to provide basic knowledge in a topic of interest in the field of bioprinting. This blog will feature the useof alginate as a biomaterial for bioprinting.
Alginic acid, or more commonly known as alginate, is probably one of the most commonly used and versatile hydrogels for cell encapsulation, cell culture, and tissue engineering. Its biocompatibilityand simple cross-linking / gelation chemistry makes it ideal for encapsulating cells. In addition, chemical modifications can be made on the polymer chain to promote cell adhesion and cell growth.
Stay tuned to more educational beginners guides to bioprinting featuring other biomaterials like collagen and pluronic. To view or participate in our webinar series, click here.

In this blog, we will discuss how alginate has been used for bioprinting.
What is alginate?

Alginate is an anionic polysaccharide derived from brown seaweed and basically mad…

Educator Spotlight: Adelle Schade

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Why it is important to bring bioprinting technology into the classroom?
One of SE3D’s core values is to share our technology with the education community, democratizing bioprinting technology to spur new innovations across all levels. Bioprinting is important because it is a cornerstone technology that can provide transformative solutions in healthcare such as organ printing and tissue regeneration. In order for us to be successful in bringing bioprinting into the classroom, we need passionate teachers like Ms. Adelle Schade to deliver this opportunity to her students. I met Adelle at the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference in Philadelphia back in 2015. The very first time we met, Adelle only saw the “concept” prototype of our r3bEL bioprinter, but when I explained to her what bioprinting and SE3D is about, she immediately got what we were trying to do. On the following day, she came back to our booth with fellow teachers and friends. I could already fee…

Open-Source 3D Software Programs

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Why we chose open-source 3D software programs

One of SE3D’s core principles is to provide a seamless user experience: we chose to focus on designing with the user in mind. When we first started designing the r3bEL (pronounced as “rebel”) bioprinter, we carefully considered what our users needed and how they would use our bioprinter to enhance their research or educational goals. We opted to use open-source 3D software programs, such as Pronterface and Slic3r, because there are many great advantages for our end-users to leverage these open-source programs.
1. It is FREE
Who doesn’t like free products and services, especially when the quality is not compromised? Rather than focus on developing a new program, we sought to invest our time in end-user development and dedicate our time to creating customer resources such as curriculum and protocols. We also found that many open-source 3D software programs available were more often than not one of the best ones.
2. Crowdsource knowledge-base / p…

5 REASONS TO ATTEND THE 3DHEALS2018 GLOBAL CONFERENCE

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If you are a big fan of 3D printing, in particular its applications in the healthcare sector, then this is a conference you simply cannot miss. I met Dr. Jenny Chen, the founder and CEO of 3DHEALS, 3 years ago and I can still remember the resonating energy and vibe I got from her very first 3DHEALS event in downtown San Francisco. “What an amazing woman,” I thought, and “what a great initiative to have for this ecosystem!”
In April 2017, Jenny organized the first ever 3DHEALS Global Conference and to date, it is the largest 3D printing for healthcare conference in the world. With her relentless effort and amazing team, Jenny was able to gather healthcare professionals, entrepreneurs, developers, designers, regulatory experts, and investors all in one place. It was a huge success and I have no doubt that the 2018 conference will be another great one.
Why should I attend?
1. Great talks by great speakers Last year’s panel of speakers blew me away and this year, I am not expecting any less…

How 3D Printing Will Revolutionize Henna Tattoos

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Originating from Ancient India, Henna (also known as Mehndi) is a body art where decorative designs are drawn onto a person’s body using a paste created from the leaves of a henna plant. It is commonly used as an accessory on special occasions such as weddings and holidays. Some of the holidays celebrated with henna are Purim, Diwali, Passover, and various saints’ days.  

Where can you get henna tattoos? Henna has historically been used in the Arabian Peninsula, Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Carthage, and North Africa. There are independent henna artists in the United States. However, hiring a henna artist can cost you anywhere upwards of $75/hr.
How will 3D printing affect henna printing? The application of henna is very demanding. It is traditionally applied by highly skilled artists with a steady hand as once the material is applied, it will stain the skin almost immediately. The tattoos can last up to three weeks without fading. It also relies on the creativity and imagination …

SE3D Researcher Spotlight: Dr. Luciano Paulino Silva

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Dr. Luciano Paulino Silva is a senior researcher at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa). He has 18 years of experience in scientific research and development and has published 130 scientific papers in the field of bioprospecting, nanobiotechnology, and beyond. Dr. Silva is also an alumni (affiliated) member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, editorial board member and reviewer of multiple scientific journals,  consultant for Brazilian governmental agencies and a full professor of Nanoscience and Nanobiotechnology, as well as Molecular Biology at the Institute of Biological Sciences of the University of Brasilia.

Maya: Dr. Silva, please tell us about the research work at your laboratory.
Silva: The Laboratory of Nanobiotechnology - LNANO at Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (Brasilia, DF, Brazil) focuses on research that utilizes nanotechnology to support or enhance biological systems. These projects include the characterization of biological structures…