3D Printing on Skin


MSI PI Michael McAlpine (Mechanical Engineering) led a group of researchers who successfully used a 3D printer to print electronics on the back of a real human hand. This research could be used by soldiers, who could get temporary sensors to detect biological or chemical agents or solar cells to charge electronic equipment. The researchers were also able to print cells directly onto a skin wound, which could lead to new treatments for wounds and the ability to create skin grafts. This part of the research was a collaboration with MSI PI Jakub Tolar (Dean, Medical School; Pediatrics), a world-renowned expert in rare skin diseases. The article appeared in the journal Advanced Materials.

An article about this research project appears on the College of Science and Engineering website: Researchers 3D print electronics and cells directly on skin.

Professor McAlpine is creating new technologies for next-generation 3D devices that incorporate functional materials and biology. His group uses simulation, computer-aided engineering, data visualization, and image processing software available through MSI for these projects. His work with the Army Research Lab to create soft robots recently appeared on the MSI website: Creating Soft Robots With 3D Printing.

Professor Tolar uses MSI resources for RNA-seq analyses supporting research into more effective treatments for recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, a rare and debilitating skin disease.