BIOFABRICATION

Biofabrication is the controlled spatial deposition of materials and biological material (termed a bioink when printed simultaneously) and subsequent maturation of the printed tissue structure. It is a rapidly developing technique with commercially available printing hardware now making the field very accessible. Dr. Cooke has worked on the development of suspension bioprinting using fluid gels, which have been sheared during gelation to produce a suspension media. This helps to overcome the limitations of viscosity in bioprinting tissue constructs with good shape fidelity. She is also very interested in how cells and materials interact when combined to form bioinks, and how their interactions affect the processing and printability of bioinks.

Cooke and Rosenzweig, APL Bioengineering 2021

This invited review presents fundamental technical information on the properties of hydrogel polymers before introducing qualitative and quantitative methods methods for characterising 'printability'. We highlight a series of rheological tests that we advise should be performed in the characterisation of bioinks.


We then go on to summarise novel approaches to overcome rheological limitations, such as the use of dynamic biomaterials and suspension bioprinting methods. Throughout we discuss limitations in the field such as standardisation of testing methods and protocols as well as the lack of rheological testing performed on cell-seeded biomaterials.

Moxon and Cooke et al., Advanced Materials 2017

In this article we presented for the first time a novel gel-in-gel printing technique using fluid gel microparticles. Unlike microgels or slurries, these particles have dendritic-like processes that interact with each other resulting in very fast recovery of solid-like properties. 

Using this technique we produced osteochondral plugs with spatially defined bone-like and chondral-like regions. Primary human cells were printed within the bioink, the plugs were then matured before their biochemistry was assessed.

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Cooke et al., Advanced Materials 2018

In this progress report, we detailed a number of techniques being used in the Grover lab to structure hydrogels to give them new properties. A key driver for this research is the onerous regulatory environment. By taking already approved materials and inducing novel properties the route to translation will be accelerated and financially less cumbersome.

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