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Bioprinting in space with Pathfinder grant received by Lorenzo Moroni

MERLN has recently obtained an exciting new grant from the Horizon Europe 2027 program of the European Community, under the Pathfinder Open scheme that will bring new bioprinting technologies to the International Space Station.

In the PULSE project, our researchers will aim to develop a new bioprinting technology based on the levitation principle.

Bioprinting in space is one of the novel promising and perspective research directions in the rapidly emerging field of biofabrication. There are several advantages of bioprinting in space. First, under the conditions of microgravity, it is possible to bioprint constructs employing more fluidic channels and, thus, more biocompatible bio-inks. Second, microgravity conditions enable 3D bioprinting of tissue and organ constructs of more complex geometries with voids, cavities, and tunnels. Third, a novel scaffold-free, label-free, and nozzle-free technology based on multi-levitation principles can be implemented under the condition of microgravity. The ideal space bioprinters must be safe, automated, compact, and user friendly. Thus, there are no doubts that systematic exploration of 3D bioprinting in space will advance biofabrication and bioprinting technology per se. Vice versa 3D bioprinted tissues could be used to study pathophysiological biological phenomena when exposed to microgravity and cosmic radiation that will be useful on Earth to understand ageing conditioning of tissues, and in space for the crew of deep space manned missions. In PULSE, we aim at developing a radical new bioprinting technology based on multiple levitation principles and to use space as an accelerator of ageing on Earth. As a proof of concept study, we will use this newly developed bioprinting technology to create cardiac 3D in vitro models able to better mimic cardiac physiology compared to organoids. We will use such models to study cardiac ageing and test the efficacy of anti-inflammatory/ anti-oxidative drugs with anti-ageing potential.

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