University of Sheffield to install 3D bioprinter

Institution shops for machine that could work with ‘technological and biological’ matter

Credit: Pomdu/CC BY-SA 3.0

The University of Sheffield is to install a 3D bioprinter that can allow students and researchers to create items that are a fusion of biological matter and traditional materials.

The institution has a budget of £70,000 to spend on the machine and its subsequent support. It will be used by the university’s Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering in its work “on the fabrication of interconnected sensors and actuators that enable multi-modal interfaces with biological system”.

It said: “These can be applied for studying of individual cells or tissues such as the heart, brain or nerves. From a technological point of view this requires microfabrication tools capable of handling technological and biological materials at the micro- and meso- scale.”

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The materials it will use to fabricate items include “silicones, hydrogels, composites, suspensions of biological cells or functional microparticles”.

An example of the kind of work the machine is needed for is “the fabrication of arrays of electrodes, optical waveguides and microfluidic channels in designs adapted for implantation in the soft tissues of the nervous system”.

The university added: “These soft bioelectronic implants are then used to stimulate or record biological activity. To enable these objectives, we require a versatile additive manufacture platform capable of handing a palette of materials using various printing technologies.”

A supplier is being sought to deliver the machine and provide support services over the course of a two-year contract worth an estimated £70,000.

Bids for the contract are open until 13 December, with a contract scheduled to go live on 31 January.


Sam Trendall

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