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Samuel Rex & Genevieve Weiler

Project Summary
With a growing need for transplantable organs and an inadequate supply of donors, new sources of transplantable organs are needed. Three-dimensional bioprinting is a new technology with the potential to create human organs. This study reports a protocol to 3-D bioprint a hydrogel with the long-term goal of 3-D bioprinting a transplantable, artificial gastro-esophageal junction to mitigate complications after esophagectomies. The polymers polyethylene oxide and polyethylene glycol diacrylate were chosen for the hydrogel based on their ability to support cell viability. Collagen was added through the addition of a pre-gel made of decellularized porcine esophagus lyophilate to mimic an actual gastro-esophageal junction extracellular matrix and to add rigidity. Lithium phenyl-2,4,6-trimethylbenzoylphosphinate (LAP) was selected to photo- cure the hydrogel-pre-gel preps. Trans-4-hydroxy-proline assays showed that hydrogel- pre-gel preps did not contain a significantly higher amount of collagen than the control (p = 0.108). Parameters were established for 3D bioprinting the hydrogel-pre-gel. Then, constructs were successfully 3-D bioprinted. Six staining techniques, performed to assess cell viability on the constructs, showed that DAPI staining cells best. Cell stains using DAPI showed that constructs with 8 mL of pre-gel supported cells best (p = 0.049). To our knowledge, this reported work has not been previously attempted.
 Samuel Rex

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   Genevieve Weiler

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Honors & Awards
Samuel Rex (2017) & Genevieve Weiler (2017) worked in the Masonic Cancer Research Building at the University of Minnesota under the guidance of Dr. Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari. Sam and Gennie were named regional semifinalists in the Siemens Competition. They qualified for the State Science and Engineering Fair and the North Central Tri-State Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at the regional science fair, and presented at the State fair. At the Tri-State JSHS competition, Sam and Gennie were named the 4 th place project overall and advanced to the National JSHS competition.