Stereolithography of Heterogeneous Cellularized Protein Structures
New Harvest Research Fellow: Alexis Garrett (PhD Candidate in Mechanical and Materials Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
Project Start Date: April 2020
University of Nebraska‐Lincoln (biomanufacturing / cell‐substrate evaluation)
University of Rouen, France (polymer scaffold characterization)
University of Connecticut (tissue evaluation)
Harvard Medical School (stem cell differentiation)
Georgia Institute of Technology (cell proliferation)
Supervisors: Dr. Michael Sealy (Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln); Dr. Ali Tamayol (Associate Professor, University of Connecticut); Dr. Laurent Delbreilh (Maitre de Conferences, University of Rouen)
The long term goal of this research is to improve the speed of alternative protein production with advanced manufacturing. In pursuit of this goal, the overarching research objective is to apply stereolithography to rapidly print tissue engineered constructs that solve the problem of texture in alternative proteins (i.e., meat). Current manufacturing methods for cultured proteins are slow, expensive, and unable to achieve textures beyond conventional ground meats. Production rates of cultured proteins using existing biomanufacturing tools are insufficient for reaching economies of scale capable of competing with animal‐ based production. To address challenges related to feeding the global population, a convergent approach between manufacturing, tissue engineering, and food science is needed to enable new manufacturing knowledge to address speed and texture. Current products are costly and unable to achieve textures beyond conventional ground meats (e.g., hamburger or hotdog). A hybrid approach combining electrospinning and stereolithography is proposed as an alternative to conventional extrusion‐based cell printing that solves challenges related to both speed and texture.
Alexis's research focuses on fabricating hybrid fibrous scaffold structures to tune the mechanical properties of the scaffold and identify it's effect on culture viability and maturation characteristics, with the end goal being to achieve a more meat analogous texture, similar to a steak cut.