New DFG collaborative research center – TRR225 “Biofabrication”
The German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) announced that it will fund a Transregional Collaborative Research Center under the guidance of Prof. Jürgen Groll from Würzburg University. Researchers from the Universities of Bayreuth, Erlangen and Würzburg join forces to advance the newly emerging field of biofabrication.
Biofabrication is a promising technology, which blends applications of automated 3D printing processes of living cells and acellular structures. Simultaneous processing of materials and biomaterials produces complex tissue structures. Thus, biofabriction is a promising technology to create complex, heterocellular structures with microanatomical precision. Clearly, biofabriction already begins to transform the fields of tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and pharmaceutics. Specifically, in the field of tissue engineering, the creation of vascularized tissue constructs has remained a principal challenge to date. Biofabrication cannot only provide solutions for the vascularization problem but also allows for the precise deposition of various biologics including growth factors and cytokines, cells and extracellular scaffolds. Thus, this transformative technology facilitates the clinical translation of tissue engineered constructs by overcoming a myriad of previous challenges in tissue engineering methods. To date, the progress of this young research field is currently limited mainly by a lack of suitable cell-compatible and printable materials, so-called bio-inks. Not only should these bio-inks not adversely affect but rather control the survival of cells and their behavior after printing. Furthermore, incomplete understanding of the relationships between process parameters and cell reactions, and appropriate methods for more precise fabrication currently slow down development.
Therefore, the new DFG Collaborative Research Center aims to investigate research into the basics of biofabrication in the first four-years. The DFG funds this initial period with around ten million Euros to create an internationally leading competence center. The term of the DFG Collaborative Research Center is designed for a period of twelve years. Consequently, the acquired principles will be biologically investigated, improved and systematically applied with the aim of producing functional human tissue models. The Beilhack lab is happy to join this ambitious endeavor.