Meet Research Assistant, Kalani Ruberu.
What is your role?
I am responsible for developing standardised protocols to print 3D structures. This protocol development work is not limited to the bioinks synthesised at TRICEP, but also for novel bioinks developed by others.
I am also responsible for the supply of printed 3D scaffolds with quality control data for researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) and other external clients across the country.
Another aspect of my role is to train Master’s and PhD students on 3D biofabrication techniques starting from induction to bioink preparation and to fabrication of high-quality 3D scaffolds with or without cells.
What is your area of expertise and what kind of experience do you have in this area?
I come from a molecular biology and biotechnology background, bringing a wealth of experience in cell culture where I have worked with numerous human and animal cell lines. I also have expertise in carrying out cell characterisation assays, microscopy work and bacterial and viral assays.
Apart from sterile techniques, I am experienced in extrusion-based 3D printing systems and co-axial fabrication of 3D scaffolds using various bioinks synthesised at TRICEP.
What are some of the projects and collaborations you are currently working on?
One of my current projects is a collaboration with the Machine Learning Team at Deakin University, where we are working to optimise and accelerate the process of fabrication of 3D bio-scaffolds using extrusion printing.
We, at TRICEP, synthesise and formulate a range of bioinks adhering to rigorous testing protocols. I am involved in the sterilisation and sterility testing process of these bioinks before they are supplied to the end-users.
What is the future outlook of these projects?
We have successfully optimised printing parameters for a range of GelMA and GelMA/HAMA bioink concentrations in fabricating reproducible 3D scaffolds utilising the expertise of Machine Learning. This project is a stepping-stone to unravelling the benefits of Machine Learning in various aspects of 3D bioprinting and bioink development.
How is this work being translated into real applications?
3D bioprinting has a promising future in regenerative medicine and tissue transplantation. Bioink formulations developed at TRICEP are being used with a range of cell lines where we are in the process of successfully fabricating tissues that can be translated into real applications. Some examples include wound healing, the living ears project and 3D printing for islet cell transplantation.