Journal of Undergraduate Research


tissue engineering, 3D printing blood vessels, vascular graft, biocompatible modified alginate gel


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Chemical Engineering


The purpose of this project was to create and test a biocompatible modified alginate gel for 3D printing blood vessels to be used in vascular networks for tissue engineering and as vascular grafts. Vascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and more than $100 billion are spent annually for its treatment. Treatments for cardiovascular disease, such as synthetic blood vessels still have some problems with thrombosis and immune rejection. We propose to use the patient’s own cells to form replacement blood vessels, to reduce the risk of immune rejection and the endothelial cells will be able to create a naturally non-thrombogenic surface that can renew itself. Another treatment, endoscopic vessel harvesting, requires additional surgery to remove a section of blood vessel from one location and place it in the region of interest for treatment. This involves the danger of internal bleeding following the surgery. With our approach there will be no need for endoscopic vessel harvesting. This new bioprinting approach requires a gel with certain characteristics: biodegradable, maintain cells viable, crosslinkable, and 3D-printable. This project produced a gel that meets those requirements.