Bioengineers are devising a hot new technology to remotely control the positioning and timing of cell functions to build 3-dimensional, artificial, living tissues.
The labs of Kelly Stevens at the UW Medicine Institute of Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine in Seattle, and Jordan Miller at Rice University in Houston, are collaborating to develop bio-printed, organ-like tissues, such as liver and lung constructs.
The Steven’s lab has the long-term vision of building liver tissues that simulate some of the many, complex functions of the organ. Those artificial tissues could be used to study, for example, how drugs or toxins act on the liver.
This vital organ is prone to damage from infections, medications, poisons, and common intoxicants, like alcohol. Liver disease affects more than 500 million people worldwide and accounts for more than 2 million deaths each year.
Eventually, researchers would like to be able engineer artificial tissues that could be