Symposium SM06—Biofabrication for Emulating Biological Tissues
It is increasingly recognized that conventional and oversimplified cell culture strategies based on the planar, static formats cannot reproduce the function and complexity of biological tissues. Miniaturized biomimetic 3D tissue models fabricated using advanced materials and biomaterials, when interconnected together in a microfluidic circuit, can faithfully recapitulate the structure, biology, physiology, compartmentalization, and interconnectivity of human tissue and organ systems. These systems potentially enable accurate prediction of human responses towards pharmaceutical compounds, and facilitate high-content testing of nanomedicines, chemicals, and biological species. In the past decade, advances in materials science and microfluidics technologies have improved our capacity in the development of tissue models as simple and reproducible platforms that recapitulate tissue-level functions through incorporation of biological materials such as cells, their associated matrices, and microenvironmental cues. The utilization of fluids in micro-sized channels is cost-effective due to reductions in the quantity of cells, animals, and reagents required, making it further scalable. In a related way, rapid advancement in biofabrication technologies have enabled the creation of biomimetic microenvironments to emulate architectural fidelity, apply shear stress, strain, and/or interfaces on different biological materials. The advances in materials will continue to drive the field of in vitro tissue modeling by contributing to improved cell-instructive extracellular matrix cues, while biofabrication will enable improved 3D spatial control and dynamics required for the successful creation of the complex human tissue microenvironments. This symposium will cover interdisciplinary topics spanning from materials science, physics, chemistry, engineering, biological sciences, and medicine with an emphasis on advanced manufacturing technologies for generating microphysiological systems or organ-on-chip platforms, towards applications in both fundamental studies and translational research.