ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Lab webpage: https://srl.ethz.ch/
In tissue engineering and biohybrid robotics it remains a challenge to fabricate volumetric, three-dimensional muscle tissue, with precise control over cellular alignment and contraction direction. Several advanced manufacturing techniques have been applied to influence cellular alignment and contraction, such as seeding cells on micropatterned surface topographies, casting cell-laden hydrogels, and bioprinting three dimensional structures. However, most of these technologies are limited to the fabrication of micron-sized cardiac tissues, without controlled cell alignment. Here, we apply coherent laser light (Filamented Light Biofabrication) to fabricate three-dimensional, aligned, and contractile engineered cardiac tissues. We demonstrate that aligned engineered cardiac tissues exhibit higher electrical coupling (gap junction expression), and increased magnitude of contractility relative to unaligned tissues. Finally, we show how optical flow can be applied during video post-processing to quantify intra- and inter-tissue differences in contraction direction and magnitude using video microscopy. We anticipate our work to be a starting point for engineering more complex biohybrid robots, with multidirectional cellular alignments, exhibiting high-force, directional contractility.
Lewis is a doctoral student in the Soft Robotics Lab, at ETH Zurich. He is a bioengineer, conducting research in Muscle Tissue Engineering for applications in regenerative medicine and biohybrid robotics. His research specifically focuses on cardiac tissue engineering and using new laser-based bioprinting processes to biofabricate contractile tissues. He previously studied Biochemistry at the University of Nottingham, ETH Zurich and MIT.