Biofabrication of soft and vascularized tissues by hybrid bioprinting

About this line of research

In the field of tissue engineering, substantial progress has been made in the production of thin avascular tissues, such as cartilage. However, the regeneration of cartilage tissue with the appropriate cartilage phenotype remains difficult. Starting from fibrochondrocytes, articular chondrocytes or human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, cellular spheroids displaying a (fibro)cartilage phenotype, and compatible geometry for dispensing by 3D bioprinting technologies, are generated.

Besides the engineering of thin, avascular tissues, the biofabrication of tissue constructs with an extended vascular network, remains challenging. As 3D bioprinting is the rising technique in biofabrication strategies, we produced small prevascularized cellular building blocks that can be incorporated in any bioprinted construct, especially for the creation of micron-range blood vessels.        

In order to create larger tissue constructs, a hybrid bioprinting approach is pursued where the aforementioned spheroids are the cellular component of a hydrogel-based bioink. Therefore, the effect of natural polymers, such as gelatin- and alginate-based derivatives, on spheroid viability, phenotype or angiogenic properties is thoroughly investigated before assessing the processing potential of the spheroid-laden bioinks by extrusion-based bioprinting.


  1. De Moor, L., Beyls, E., and Declercq, H. (2019). Scaffold Free Microtissue Formation for Enhanced Cartilage Repair. Ann. Biomed. Eng. doi:10.1007/s10439-019-02348-4.
  2. De Moor, L., Fernandez, S., Vercruysse, C., Tytgat, L., Asadian, M., De Geyter, N., et al. (2020). Hybrid Bioprinting of Chondrogenically Induced Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Spheroids. Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 8, 484. doi:10.3389/fbioe.2020.00484.
  3. De Moor, L., Merovci, I., Baetens, S., Verstraeten, J., Kowalska, P., Krysko, D. V, et al. (2018). High-throughput fabrication of vascularized spheroids for bioprinting. Biofabrication 10, 035009. doi:10.1088/1758-5090/aac7e6.


  • Ruslan Dmitriev, professor/head of the group

+32 9 332 51 33