Characterisation of biomaterials and optimisation of 3D bioprinting for tissue engineering

Key information

Application close date
05 October 2023, 11:59 BST
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Application guidance
Posted 30 August 2023
Background texture taken from the lab imagery.

This sandwich placement will be based in the Making Lab STP supervised by Albane Imbert. 

Project background and description 

Tissue engineering is the creation of constructs which accurately mimic biological tissues of interest (e.g. cardiac, bone marrow, skin). This requires a combination of engineering techniques, biomaterials, cell culture, fluidics, biochemistry and biomechanics. These constructs can be used for research purposes [1](e.g. growing organoids for drug testing) or for therapeutic purposes [2, 3](e.g. creating scaffolds to surgically implanted which aid bone repair).

The use of biomaterials and 3D printing techniques is an emerging field in tissue engineering, with many exciting avenues for development. In the Making Lab at the Crick we use a wide variety of techniques to custom make devices to aid biomedical research. We are now establishing a biomaterials and bioprinting platform within the Making Lab, and have purchased two state of the art bioprinters, which we are using to conduct pilot projects, and a rheometer, which will allow us to characterise the mechanical properties of different materials, as studies show that this can have a big impact on cell survival and behaviour. We also anticipate working closely with the new Human Biology platform that will be set up at the Crick in the coming year.

This project will require the student to characterise materials for:

  • Printability of different structures e.g. channels, cavities, walls, overhangs
  • Cell viability during and post printing
  • Cell recovery from printed constructs
  • Mechanical properties
  • Shelf life/storage pre and post printing
  • Interactions during multi-material prints

The results of this work will be directly applied to our on-going  applications such bioprinting of vasculatures within soft gels, streamlined production of hydrogel 3D environments  automated manufacturing of bespoke organoid culture platforms and automated micropatterning.

To achieve this the student will be trained in sterile tissue culture techniques, experimental planning, 3D bioprinting and rheology. They will also be taught how to present their findings and have regular opportunities to do so at team meetings.

Candidate background

The post holder should embody and demonstrate the Crick ethos and ways of working: bold, open and collegial. The candidate must be registered at a UK Higher Education Institution, studying in the UK and must have completed a minimum of two years’ undergraduate study in a relevant discipline, and on track to receive a final degree grade of 2:1 or 1. In addition, they should be able demonstrate the following experience and key competencies:

  • This project will be suitable for students studying biology or engineering science
  • Good knowledge in relevant scientific area(s)
  • Good written and spoken communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and also capable of interacting within a group

This project will be suitable for students studying biology or engineering science.


1.         Johnson, P.A., Menegatti, S., Chambers, A.C., Alibhai, D., Collard, T.J., Williams, A.C., . . . Perriman, A.W. (2022)

            A rapid high throughput bioprinted colorectal cancer spheroid platform for in vitro drug- and radiation-response.

            Biofabrication 15: 014103. PubMed abstract

2.         Xu, L., Zhang, Z., Jorgensen, A.M., Yang, Y., Jin, Q., Zhang, G., . . . Hou, R. (2023)

            Bioprinting a skin patch with dual-crosslinked gelatin (GelMA) and silk fibroin (SilMA): An approach to accelerating cutaneous wound healing.

            Materials Today Bio 18: 100550. PubMed abstract

3.         Li, C., Li, C., Ma, Z., Chen, H., Ruan, H., Deng, L., . . . Cui, W. (2023)

            Regulated macrophage immune microenvironment in 3D printed scaffolds for bone tumor postoperative treatment.

            Bioactive Materials 19: 474-485. PubMed abstract