If this tiny tubular hydrogel looks like an artery, it’s supposed to. Researchers are trying to use gels like these to model and even grow real-life blood vessels. PhD students Lynn Stevens and Elizabeth Recker work in the lab of Zak Page at the University of Texas at Austin and design hydrogels that can be easily 3D printed. One advantage of the light-based printing that Stevens and Recker use is its resolution: these faux vessels have walls that are just 0.2 mm thick. Hydrogels like this one can be made biocompatible and can harbor live cells, meaning that scientists and doctors could one day print out cell-laden gels, implant them, and regenerate failing blood vessels in the body.
Submitted by Lynn Stevens and Elizabeth Recker
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