Bio-ink for inkjet printing of living cells

C.J. Ferris, K.J. Gilmore, S. Beirne, D. McCallum, G.G. Wallace, M. in het Panhuis
ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), AU

Keywords: cell, inkjet, biomaterials, bio-ink


This abstract summarises our recent work on the development of a bio-ink tailored for the controlled deposition of cells by inkjet printing. Direct printing of living cells is an emerging approach to the fabrication of tissue- or organ-like structures for application in regenerative medicine and in vitro drug screening and toxicology. Significant advances in bio-ink design are needed to continue the progression of this technology towards a clinically relevant biofabrication tool. Particularly, bio-inks for inkjet printing must simultaneously satisfy often disparate engineering and biological requirements, such as preventing cell settling and aggregation whilst retaining printability, without cytotoxic effects. The bio-ink described in this work uses a novel microgel suspension and biocompatible surfactants to achieve the above requirements to enable robust cell deposition from many-nozzle piezoelectric inkjet print heads. We employed this capability to fabricate a range of cell constructs and microarrays. We believe that the bio-ink described in this work is an important advance in inkjet cell printing.