3D Print of the Week

3D print of the week: skin cell holder for laboratory research

This week’s featured print is a part is used to generate organotypic cultures that mimic human skin, designed by the Rompolas Lab team.

How does it work? A small sheet of matrix is placed over the central square cut-out (1.1cm x 1.1cm) and primary human keratinocytes are seeded onto it. The cells are prompted to differentiate using specific media resulting in the production of a stratified epithelia that mimics human epidermis. For the differentiation to take place, it is important to conserve an air-liquid interface. Therefore, the surface is lifted using 4 small legs placed at each corner of the outer rim (approx. 2.4cm x 2.4cm) and a barrier prevents liquid from splashing onto the surface. These organotypic cultures are used as an vitro system to test the effect that specific genetic changes have on the maintenance and differentiation of skin stem cells. This is feasible because the primary human keratinocytes can be genetically manipulated in vitro prior to seeding them onto the matrix. Keeping sterility throughout this process is crucial.

The team chose to print the design using high-temperature resin in order to be able to thoroughly clean and autoclave the part prior to use.

3D printing allows researchers to design custom parts such as this for their laboratory work which would otherwise be difficult to create or obtain.


Printed in rigid high-temperature resin on the Form2

Learn more about the Biomedical Library’s 3D printing service which is proud to print complimentary objects and provide 3D design consultations  contributing to innovation in teaching, learning, research, and clinical care at the University of Pennsylvania.

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