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Printing Tissues: The Future is Now

September 07, 2018 | 11:00 AM
Nedderman Hall Room 203 | Seminar Flyer

Seminar Speaker

Venu Varanasi, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Graduate Nursing, Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Treatment of soft and hard tissue defects has been a tremendous challenge due to the difficulties in creating the conditions needed for rapid regeneration and lessen the burden to the patient. Autologous healing is desired, yet, these injuries can be so severe that such healing is difficult and often results in impaired or delayed healing resulting in loss of function. In particular, bone fractures and defects are severely problematic due to the resultant loss in hard and soft tissue. Stem cells, growth factors, and gene therapies have also been attempted, but, they often lead to increased chance of rejection and delayed treatment due to the need to collect sufficient resource to treat such patients. Thus, there is a vital need to develop new technologies and materials to deal with such issues. In our approach, we use 3D printing to “live” print the missing tissue directly into the tissue defect. This method not only prints regenerative materials into the defect, the method itself can help to reconstruct the gap by reconstructing the architecture. This allows for the material to facilitate proper healing by integrating stem cells and growth factors and blood into the scaffold ass it is built into the defect. The materials used are common place biopolymers such as gelatin and FDA approved drugs such as LaponiteTM nanosilicate powders. The interesting aspect of these materials is that modification of their structure and extrusion of their liquefied forms (bio-ink) allows them to take on structural properties when printed into a bone defect. We anticipate that this method can transform treatment modalities for patients afflicted with such conditions by removing added surgeries associated with secondary revision. There is a need for children and adults facing these issues to not be penalized with added surgeries far into the future after being treated with an implant. In our vision, we believe that our approach would lead to complete natural tissue replacement within a short time period after surgery and no revision surgery and fewer follow-ups will be needed since the natural bone would be restored.


Venu Varanasi, Ph.D.Venu Varanasi earned his doctorate from the University Of Florida Department Of Chemical Engineering in 2004, in partnership with the Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His graduate work focused on developing new solid oxide electrolytes for fuel cell technology used in green energy power supply for aerospace vehicles and land-based power generation. He then launched his career in biomaterials and bioengineering as a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California at San Francisco and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. There, he started his work on developing biogenic materials for use in bone healing. Dr. Varanasi was then awarded an NIH K25 career development award in 2007 to continue this work as a faculty member at UCSF. He later moved to Texas A&M University as an assistant professor in 2011 and has continued his work. Varanasi has published more than 35 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, patents, and funded on various projects from the Department of Energy, Canadian Nuclear Energy Agency, NIH, and industry. He is currently funded on an industry grant for the next five years to explore the adoption of the materials developed in his current research into potential clinical translation. He has also collaborated with Pranesh Aswath and Marco Brotto on several projects to further expand his biomaterials research for use in musculoskeletal and craniofacial-related disorders and traumatic injuries.