The “first man-made biological leaf” could enable humans to colonise space
RCA graduate Julian Melchiorri says the synthetic biological leaf he developed, which absorbs water and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen just like a plant, could enable long-distance space travel.
Inspired by a young man, GE engineer Lyman Connor created an affordable bionic hand using only a 3D printer, his computer, and his technical skills. Watch his story here.
Scientists use 3D printing to make artificial blood vessels
The tangled highway of blood vessels that twists and turns inside our bodies, delivering essential nutrients and disposing of hazardous waste to keep our organs working properly has been a conundrum for scientists trying to make artificial vessels from scratch. Now a team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has made headway in fabricating blood vessels using a three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting technique.
The study is published online this month in Lab on a Chip.
"Engineers have made incredible strides in making complex artificial tissues such as those of the heart, liver and lungs,” said senior study author, Ali Khademhosseini, PhD, biomedical engineer, and director of the BWH Biomaterials Innovation Research Center. “However, creating artificial blood vessels remains a critical challenge in tissue engineering. We’ve attempted to address this challenge by offering a unique strategy for vascularization of hydrogel constructs that combine advances in 3D bioprinting technology and biomaterials.”
The researchers first used a 3D bioprinter to make an agarose (naturally derived sugar-based molecule) fiber template to serve as the mold for the blood vessels. They then covered the mold with a gelatin-like substance called hydrogel, forming a cast over the mold which was then reinforced via photocrosslinks.
"Our approach involves the printing of agarose fibers that become the blood vessel channels. But what is unique about our approach is that the fiber templates we printed are strong enough that we can physically remove them to make the channels," said Khademhosseini. "This prevents having to dissolve these template layers, which may not be so good for the cells that are entrapped in the surrounding gel."
Khademhosseini and his team were able to construct microchannel networks exhibiting various architectural features. They were also able to successfully embed these functional and perfusable microchannels inside a wide range of commonly used hydrogels, such as methacrylated gelatin or poly(ethylene glycol)-based hydrogels at different concentrations.
Methacrylated gelatin laden with cells, in particular, was used to show how their fabricated vascular networks functioned to improve mass transport, cellular viability and cellular differentiation. Moreover, successful formation of endothelial monolayers within the fabricated channels was achieved.
"In the future, 3D printing technology may be used to develop transplantable tissues customized to each patient’s needs or be used outside the body to develop drugs that are safe and effective," said Khademhosseini.
How competitive are colleges when you are trying to major in BME and what type of classes would you recommend someone taking over the summer?
Um I’m not too sure about the competitiveness aspect. I go to NIU and we aren’t exactly known for engineering but we have just about a 100% rate of students getting a job straight out of college. There’s not a big worry about graduating and then being worded you won’t find a job at my school.
As far as summer classes, I would recommend maybe a tougher class that you could have all summer to focus on. That way it wouldn’t distract you from your school year course load. Obviously if you struggle with physics more or calculus it might be one of those for you. I had to take a microelectronics class and that has been the hardest for me so far, it would have been nice to be able to give it all of my attention.
Hi, I am BINOD . I am sophomore in biomedical engineering at Mississippi state university. I am wondering how to make strong foundation in BME . I am looking for internship to apply. Can you advice me where should apply for internship in BME?
I would recommend any sort of engineering internship whatsoever! Even if it’s not specifically biomedical, it’s good to have engineering experience. My internship this summer is an engineering internship that has nothing to do with biomedical engineering. Internships can be very competitive and tough to get especially for freshman and sophomores so I would cast a wide net.
Hey! I just want to know what it's really like to be a BME? Like what do you have to do and how difficult is it? Also, do you know what you're planning to do after you get your degree? If you could answer these, this would really help a lot. Thanks! [=
Hey! Thanks for the questions. I’ll try to answer them individually to the best to my ability.
What is it really like to be a BME?
Do you mean in industry or in college? I’ll try to address both haha.
In college: Being a BME in college is definitely challenging. We have a lot of different disciplines to cover (Mechanical, Chemical, Materials, Electrical Engineerings, Medicine, etc.). It’s a lot of group based classes and an overview of these other majors. If you don’t come in with credit, it could take over 4 years to graduate, though I plan on graduating on time.
In industry: It probably depends on what you do. BME’s have many different job opportunities such as Field Clinical Engineers which go around hospitals and observe how the device is being implementing into patients, Research and Development/Product Development Engineers work on prototyping and making products into what we see today, Consultants will go into companies and make suggestions, Clinical and regulatory affairs deal with performance and safety testing of new products, Technical sales determine how products could be designed or modified to meet customers’ needs and advise customers on how best to use the products, along with BMEs who go to get their MD/PA/DO/Pharm and grad school for academia. Those are the most realistic jobs in BME. I know some people who also go into law and programming! There are a lot of opportunities.
What do you have to do and how difficult is it?
To get where you want to be, you really have to be cognizant of your end goal. If you want to go to med school, you should complete the pre-health requirements. If you want to go into industry, you should focus on gaining experiences that would be relavant to industry so you can get a good job. Things that would help include research, internships, leadership positions, etc. If you want to go to grad school, getting involved in comprehensive research would be really helpful. But most of all, it’s really important to get good grades. Balancing all of this can be difficult, but time management is key, and knowing yourself as a student. The classes can get hard, but I think they’re really interesting, so I do better in the classes that are related to my major.
What are you planning on doing after you get your degree?
I plan on going straight into industry as soon as I graduate! I never was interested in pure medicine/MD, and I’m not exactly sure what I want to do, so I thought going to grad school would be a waste of time and money since I’m not 100% sure. So I figured I would get a job, and maybe pursue an advanced degree later in life if I wanted it! Some degrees that I have thought about are: Masters in Electrical Engineering, Masters in Biomedical Engineering and Masters in Public Health! I’ve also thought about going to DO school and working for Planned Parenthood one day. But for now, I plan on going straight into industry. As for how I’m preparing/have prepared to do this in my undergraduate career, I have taken a full load each semester I’ve been here. I plan on minoring in industrial design because I think that will help in the medical device industry. Last summer I did a research internship and took calc 3. This summer I’ve taken 6 credit hours and I have a part time job. I’ve been involved in many organizations in undergrad, I’ve been involved in undergraduate research since I was a freshman, and I’ve always had an on-campus job. I’m also in a social sorority so I get some connections from that about job opportunities, and other BMEs to study with. It’s SUPER helpful and I love it.
Some advice for prospective BME students:
- Do well in your classes because it’s really important. This means go to tutoring, office hours, study groups, etc.
- Meet with your advisors frequently
- Get involved in the BME community/research
- Don’t EVER waste a summer. This means right after freshman year either take classes, work, research, volunteer or study abroad! Always keep building your resume and be competitive.
- Make connections and network
And I think that’s it. Sorry this was long but I hope it helps!
These condoms include Vivagel, a new antiviral compound that disables 99.9% of HIV, herpes, and other sexually transmitted viruses:http://bit.ly/1ne3B9V
from Science Alert
Additional, slightly more detailed, article (x). It uses nanotech!
MIT Finger Device Reads to the Blind in Real Time
“Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an audio reading device to be worn on the index finger of people whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to printed words.
The so-called FingerReader, a prototype produced by a 3-D printer, fits like a ring on the user’s finger, equipped with a small camera that scans text. A synthesized voice reads words aloud, quickly translating books, restaurant menus and other needed materials for daily living, especially away from home or office.”
Read more from Boston.com.
The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
- Albert Einstein (via alberteinsteinquotes)