Biofabrication & translational medicine lab
Jinah Jang (Creative IT Engineering, Mechanical Engineering)
Tremendous investments have been made in developing treatment plans for cardiovascular and degenerative diseases, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Still yet, none have come to reap outcomes of any significance. Sadly, many patients suffering from damaged organs or tissues are simply not healthy enough to sustain the wait times for transplants and tragically perish. While a number of products are either being developed or produced at the Lab, there still remains much to be done in advancing research for engineering organs to replace non-functioning ones.
The Biofabrication & translational medicine Laboratory headed by professor Jinah Jang at the Department of ‘Creative IT Engineering’ and ‘Mechanical Engineering’, POSTECH, is engaged in the creation of functional tissues capable of replacing human organs or tissues. Leveraging three-dimensional printing, a cutting-edge biofabrication technology to ‘print out’ cells or biomaterials, across tissue engineering, stem cell engineering, information technology and other diverse areas, researchers at the Lab are developing innovative medical breakthroughs to help treat intractable diseases.
The Lab is working systematically towards its ultimate goal of developing artificial human organs. One of the interim milestones would be to fabricate biomaterials to complement the functions of organs and meet therapeutic purposes. The development of a cardiac patch with a stem cell bioink designed to treat myocardial infarction and other cardiovascular disorders was published in the international journal of ‘Science Advances’ last year. Whereas the injection of stem cells has been the norm in treating cardiac disorders, this novel patch formulation enables the direct application of more stem cells to the affected areas.
Creating an ex-vivo environment similar to that of the human organ is advantageous in conducting a range of applied research. Small amounts of tissues can be engineered for testing drugs on, and target tissue from a specific patient can be artificially fabricated to create a personalized platform to essentially look into the causes of disorders that affect that individual patient. It will also be possible to analyze the efficacy of medications such as anti-cancer drugs by testing them on artificial tissue that is identical to human tissue, rather than conducting animal testing. Furthermore, biomaterials can be used to provide an environment that promotes the generation of blood vessels for research purposes.
The Lab takes great pride in establishing the most advanced infrastructure in Korea to perform bioprinting research. Exploring technologies that can be readily applied to the future healthcare industry, the Lab is paving the way to fabricate well-functioning artificial organs. With the present-day level of artificial organ technology, scientists can only create thumb-sized organs. In the next 10 years, however, researchers hope that artificial organs engineered at the Lab will successfully function just the same as human organs.
Head of Lab