If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.


3-D Printing

Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: Printing a blood vessel

by Manny I. Fox Morone
April 17, 2023


A closeup view of a branched tube that resembles a blood vessel. It's made of a hydrogel and filled with an orange liquid.
Credit: Lynn Stevens and Elizabeth Recker

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.

A branched tube that resembles a blood vessel filled with an orange liquid made of a hydrogel.
Credit: Lynn Stevens and Elizabeth Recker

Submitted by Lynn Stevens and Elizabeth Recker

Do science. Take pictures. Win money. Enter our photo contest here.

Click here to see more Chemistry in Pictures.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.