The 3-D Tissue Bioprinting program is based on a collaborative model of research. Projects are collaborations with disease experts from the broad scientific community, who provide expertise on disease physiology, access to patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells and primary cells, and access to disease animal models. In turn, NCATS provides expertise in tissue engineering and screening.
NCATS is also establishing research collaborations with technology providers to develop tissue engineering technologies, including noninvasive microscopy techniques or plate designs that enable perfusion. Learn more about how to collaborate with the program.
History of the Program
2013: A research collaboration agreement was signed between NIH — including NCATS and the National Eye Institute (NEI) — and Organovo, a company dedicated to facilitating the development of new therapies through the design and creation of functional human tissues using proprietary 3-D bioprinting technologies.
2014: As part of the collaboration, NCATS installed an Organovo NovoGen MMX Bioprinter® to develop 3-D bioprinted retinal (in collaboration with NEI) and skin tissue.
2015: NIH (NCATS and NEI) and Organovo signed a Materials Cooperative Research and Development Agreement that extends the partnership through 2018.
2016: The 3-D Tissue Bioprinting program at NCATS received funding through the Cures Acceleration Network, which enabled the expansion of bioprinting technical capabilities to include a regenHU bioprinter. NCATS also used this funding to create a histology core and expand microscopy imaging capabilities with a two-photon microscope and a Molecular Devices ImageXpress high-content reader. Finally, NCATS initiated two additional pilot projects and another research collaboration:
- Pilot project: Development of 3-D bioprinted tissue models of the omentum to study ovarian cancer metastasis (Ernst Lengyel, M.D., Ph.D., University of Chicago).
- Pilot project: Development of bioprinted 3-D tissue models of blood vessel walls to study cardiovascular diseases.
- Research collaboration: Development of a high-throughput optical coherence tomography instrument applicable to tissue samples (Chao Zhou, Ph.D., Lehigh University).
2017: NCATS published a request for applications to advance collaborative drug discovery research using bioprinted skin tissue. Two teams at Columbia University (Angela Christiano, Ph.D.) and Rockefeller University/New York University (Dan Gareau, Ph.D.) received funding through this opportunity.
2017: NCATS established a research collaboration agreement with Julie Segre, Ph.D., at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and Yasmine Belkaid, Ph.D., at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to use bioprinted human skin models to understand the mechanism underlying human skin-microbiome interactions.
2018: NCATS established a research collaboration agreement with Rosandra Kaplan, M.D., at the National Cancer Institute to develop breast cancer metastasis models in a vascularized lung.