Moreau senior Sarang Raj recently won SE3D's first bioprinting competition. SE3D, the developer of Moreau's state-of-the-art bioprinters, challenged students to showcase their ingenuity and skills by creating a unique design that was printed on the r3bEL bioprinter.
"What was unique about Sarang's print is that it had application to the medical field, and he plans to study medicine in college," Moreau Science Department Chair Kerrie Gibson said. "He created his medial meniscus design using Autodesk Fusion 360 and from there created a file that the bioprinter was able to read and print."
"I approached this project with practicality," Raj said. "What can I do with the 3D bioprinter that can have a positive benefit in someone's life?" he asked himself.
He focused on what is known as the "unhappy triad," a common knee injury among athletes that causes damage to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), MCL (medial collateral ligament) and medial meniscus (a fibrocartilage band that spans the knee joint). The recovery process for that type of injury is especially intense and lengthy.
As shown in the photo, the medial meniscus made out of Pluronic f-127 is in red, while another meniscus using a filament is shown in off white.
"With my meniscus pluronic scaffold, it has the potential of becoming actual tissue (cartilage) using the person's own stem cells," Raj explained. "That meniscus can be, in theory, transplanted into a person's knee, which will lessen the recovery time."
"Sarang basically taught himself how to use the CAD software, and kept at it until he had a successful print," Gibson said. "He also had the great idea to print it on the 3D printer first, enabling him to see the shape and to make adjustment accordingly before he printed the scaffold on the bioprinter."