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SELECTBIO Conferences Biofabrication & Biomanufacturing Europe 2019

Heidi Declercq's Biography



Heidi Declercq, Head of the Bioprint Facility and Tissue Engineering Group, Department of Human Structure and Repair, Universiteit Gent

Heidi Declercq, PhD, studied Biomedical Engineering and received her PhD (In vitro models for bone tissue engineering) in Medical Sciences from Ghent University, Belgium, in 2005. As postdoctoral researcher, she was involved in the evolution of top-down (scaffold-based) to bottom-up (developmental inspired) tissue engineering strategies. She worked on several effects of (printed) scaffold parameters to enhance cellular differentiation. She studied expansion and differentiation of human adult and embryonic stem cells. But later on, she focused to modular tissue engineering by at random assembling of stem cell-seeded microcarriers and spheroids. In 2017 she became head of the Tissue Engineering group with embedded the Bioprint Facility. Her group, aims to biofabricate complex and vascularized tissues via hybrid technologies. Hybrid bioprinting will combine aspects of top-down and bottom-up engineering and will have synergistic effects on fabricated tissues (maturation, mechanical strength,…). Tissue-specific or vascular spheroids are fabricated in high throughput and bioprinted in combination with smart biomaterials.

H. Declercq is involved as lecturer (Cell & Tissue Culture, Biomaterials, Tissue Engineering) for bachelor and master students Biomedical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering. She is the founder of GATE, Gent Alliance for Tissue Engineering, aiming to unite all research groups at UGent involved in the field of tissue engineering and with different expertises (modelling, smart biomaterials, microfluidics, stem cells, …), leading to bridge the gap in healthcare.

Heidi Declercq Image

Biofabrication of Vascularized Tissues with Bioprinting

Thursday, 20 June 2019 at 11:45

Add to Calendar ▼2019-06-20 11:45:002019-06-20 12:45:00Europe/LondonBiofabrication of Vascularized Tissues with BioprintingBiofabrication and Biomanufacturing Europe 2019 in Rotterdam, The NetherlandsRotterdam, The NetherlandsSELECTBIOenquiries@selectbiosciences.com

The main challenge in tissue engineering is the creation of a functional engineered vascular system with multiscale vessel networks from capillaries to large vessels within complex 3D structures such as heart, muscle, bone, adipose tissue,… Strategies to engineer these tissues can be categorized in top-down, scaffold-based approaches and bottom-up, developmental biology inspired approaches (scaffold-free). In the bottom-up approach, a 3D tissue is build by assembling modular tissues (spheroids).

In this lecture, we will focus on combining the advantages of both approaches that will have a synergistic effect on fabrication of 3D tissue analogs. In our approach, cellular building blocks with self-assembling properties and mimicking the tissue of interest will be combined with cell instructive biomaterials. The cellular building blocks are either tissue-specific or vascular. Using a high-throughput non-adhesive agarose microwell system (2865 pores, diameter 200 µm) uniform spheroids with an ideal geometry and diameter (< 200 µm) for bioprinting are formed. High quality homocellular building blocks were already generated that form tissue-specific cellular building blocks ((fibro)cartilage, adipose tissue, bone tissue,…) starting from adult cell types or human mesenchymal stem cells derived from adipose tissue or pulp tissue. Dependent on the tissue type, stable spheroid formation was influenced by cell culture medium, environment and cell types. These tissue-specific spheroids can be combined with vascular spheroids providing the capillary like network. By coculturing endothelial cells with supporting cells (fibroblasts and/or adipose tissue derived mesenchymal stem cells), and applying the favourable coculture ratio, viable vascular spheroids were obtained. Endothelial cells spontaneously organized into a capillary like network and lumina were formed. Moreover, the spheroids were able to assemble at random in suspension, creating a macrotissue. The tunable mechanical characteristics of hydrogels (crosslinking efficiency) can influence outgrowth and fusion of the spheroids. 3D bioprinting of vascular spheroids in photocrosslinkable gelatin-methacrylamide was performed with the 3D Discovery (RegenHu) and resulted in high viability and fusion of the vascular spheroids into a vascular network. Reorganization of cells, throughout the entire fused construct and by inoculating with capillaries of adjacent spheroids, creates a branched capillary like network

Combining the advantage of the natural capacity of microtissues to self-assemble and the controlled organization by bioprinting technologies, these vascularized spheroids can be useful as building blocks for the engineering of large vascularized 3D tissues.


Add to Calendar ▼2019-06-20 00:00:002019-06-21 00:00:00Europe/LondonBiofabrication and Biomanufacturing Europe 2019Biofabrication and Biomanufacturing Europe 2019 in Rotterdam, The NetherlandsRotterdam, The NetherlandsSELECTBIOenquiries@selectbiosciences.com