In Tufts Medical 3D Printing Course, Students Navigate Bioprinting and More –

There is a great demand for skilled additive manufacturing (AM) experts, especially as advanced 3D printing technologies begin to transform into mainstream production brands. As a result, all career-related experiences that build students’ knowledge of the skills needed to thrive in the field are becoming very popular, with top universities around the world offering AM courses and programs, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Additive manufacturing for innovative design and production class, or Pennsylvania State University‘s Master of Engineering in Additive Manufacturing and Design. In 2021, Tufts University‘s biomedical engineering department joined the ranks with his new 3D printing of the human body Classes. And as the name suggests, students are learning about 3D printing and bioprinting technologies currently used to create personalized medical applications.

Licensed by Vincent Fitzpatrick, a postdoctoral biomedical researcher at Tufts, the class was initially designed for 15-20 students, but ended up accommodating more than 30. According to The Daily Tufts reporter Avery Hanna, who first reported the news of the course, Fitzpatrick decided to teach 3D printing after seeing the lack of courses available for students interested in the field.

A working 3D printer, 3D printed tweezers and several models of skeletons are shown. Image courtesy of Michelle Ma / Will Flamm / The Tufts Daily.

Hoping to cover as wide a range of new technologies and applications of 3D printing in the medical field as possible, Fitzpatrick gives students the opportunity to use a variety of bio-printers and 3D printers on-site to create medical applications. For example, students can experiment with a Bio X platform Celllink (now a subsidiary of the FCOM group).

In fact, the French biomedical engineer has been using 3D printing technologies in his research for years; throughout his 18 published articles, there is a clear trend to take advantage of bioprinting and 3D printing. The expert is also part of Tufts’ Kaplan Laboratory, which focuses on biomaterials derived from biopolymer engineering and tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Riley Patten, an undergraduate bioprinting researcher at the Kaplan Lab, is also a teaching assistant for the class, and said the value of the course came mainly from experience with 3D printing.

“3D printing is a lot about sitting next to each other and trying to figure out why things didn’t work out. It’s hard with a lot of people. We didn’t have that experience initially, but we find out, and every week we have a set plan of what we want to do. usually [it] never works, but we find out. Patten explained to The Daily Tufts. “I remember it was always very scary looking at a 3D printer or a bio-printer and going, ‘Well, I have no idea how that works; I’ll do something else. I think the goal is to make people feel comfortable looking at them and using them.

If anyone has to know how to get started with 3D printing, it’s Patten. A senior student, Patten has been heavily involved in the Kaplan lab since 2019, designing and building two 3D bio-printers, a high-resolution digital light processing (DLP) 3D printer capable of creating various photosensitive silk-fiber biomaterials with living mammalian cells. , and a dual extruder syringe pump bio-printer. In addition, he works as an intern at Adam Feinberg’s regenerative medicine startup. Fluid shape, where it uses the brand’s proprietary FRESH (short for Freeform Reversible Embedding of Suspended Hydrogels) technology to generate various impressions of collagen assets.

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As a member of Boston’s prestigious educational community, Tufts University has opened up many opportunities for Fitzpatrick in the field of 3D printing and bioprinting. The expert pointed out that he has built a network of 3D printing experts from the Boston area who have lectured at Tufts 3D printing of the human body Classes. So far, the class has heard from seven guest speakers, including CEOs, researchers and other professionals in the field.

Indeed, the Massachusetts 3D printing community has grown tremendously in recent years, leading the charge with a wide range of startups, courses, and programs. For example, the city of Burlington is home to several leading 3D printing companies, such as Office metal, LightForce orthodontics, and VulcanForms. At the same time, companies like Fluidform dominate the bio-printing market in Boston. Additionally, the proximity of these companies to the Northeast’s most prestigious technical education institutions and 3D printing programs and facilities make recruiting and hiring talented workers easy and affordable.

Fitzpatrick said he was happy to have a class where he could share so many exciting possibilities with the students: “It was an enjoyable class with great students. It was a pleasure. I hope they take advantage of it. It’s nice to share that. I continue to be surprised at how few classes at Tufts – but it’s the same at all universities – actually teach students about bioprinting and 3D printing in general. Because, from my point of view from a research standpoint, there are a lot of activities that go that way.

Deepti Srinivasan, an undergraduate biomedical engineering student, described in her university project site that “since Vincent (Fitzpatrick’s) lecture for our class, I have been really fascinated by the applications of 3D printing. Currently a pre-med student, Srinivasan said she is very interested in how 3D printing can create personalized preoperative anatomical models for surgical patients.

Other course participants also hailed the course as a great way for 3D printing to revolutionize modern medicine. Like Michelle Ma, a mechanical and biomedical engineering graduate, she found that learning the intricacies of applying 3D printing was one of the most valuable aspects of the class.

Ma and other students stressed the importance of providing opportunities to learn 3D printing. Still, the future of the class is uncertain, Hanna explains, as Fitzpatrick plans to return to France in a year. Patten is hoping someone will continue with the course in the years to come and thinks Tufts needs more courses based on 3D printing. But, for now, students are very excited about the new workload, and 3D printing opens up new opportunities in medicine, healthcare and beyond for the workforce. of the next generation.

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About Stuart M. McFarland

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