Advancing bacterial 3D printing for the production of next-generation bio-materials
Funded by the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme in Cellular Bionics – 3 year PhD studentships
Supervisors: Dr Guy-Bart Stan | Dr John Heap | Dr Connor Myant
Natural and engineered bacteria possess extraordinary biosynthetic capabilities. These can serve almost any application imaginable: from functionalised bacterial cellulose patches for antimicrobial wound dressing to bacterial self-healing concrete or the use of bacteria to produce nacre-inspired composite materials. The ability to harness such great manufacturing potential into customised designs with defined three-dimensional shape and composition remains, however, largely elusive.
Current 3D bacterial printing approaches rely on the use of scaffolds or conventional layer-by-layer additive manufacturing strategies to shape their designs, often resulting in unsophisticated structures with restricted geometries and monotonous physico-chemical and mechanical properties. In contrast, one-body yet heterogeneous composite materials with seamless transitions between disparate properties (functionally graded composite materials) have long been a holy grail for designers and engineers.
This project will employ a new 3D printing method, developed by the project supervisors, that is merging the fields of synthetic biology and 3D Printing. 3D Printing has enabled the creation of complex geometric structures previously unavailable to design engineers and scientists. However, this vast new pallet of object geometries has been limited to non-living materials. The ability to create bespoke biological structures directly from a 3D printing process has so far eluded us. The focus of this project is to challenge this limitation and open a new era of 3D bio-printing.
Applications are encouraged as soon as possible, since positions will be filled as soon as suitable candidates are found.
To see our other projects, our eligibility criteria, and to find out how to apply, please visit our studentships page: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/leverhulme-centre-cellular-bionics/studentships/
For more information about the Leverhulme Centre please visit our homepage: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/leverhulme-centre-cellular-bionics/
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