In tissue engineering, to regenerate the tissue in 3D environment, biomaterials scaffolds are typically used for housing the cells during culturing. It has been found that the micro geometrical features of the scaffold can affect the cellular activities, such that will influence the tissue formation. For instance, tissue grows faster on the struts with higher local curvature. However, it is challenging to design / optimise local geometrical features by conducting many tissue engineering experiments. One of the main reason is that fabricating a scaffold, which consists of many repeating units with precisely controlled structure is quite difficult even using 3D printing technology. Another reason is that doing many trial-and-error 3D tissue engineering experiments to optimise the micro-struts geometric features is costly both on time and budget. With the help of micro-system technology, we can design and fabricate the well-controlled unit geometry for testing cells response, e.g. a microfluidic chip with a well-controlled substrate pattern for cell culturing. This information is vital for designing / optimising 3D tissue engineering scaffold. Consequently, it can accelerate the R&D process of tissue engineering scaffold with low cost.
Computer aided design of a microfluidic chip with well-controlled substrate pattern.