The billion cell construct: will three-dimensional printing get us there?

PLoS Biol. 2014 Jun 17;12(6):e1001882. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001882. eCollection 2014 Jun.


How structure relates to function--across spatial scales, from the single molecule to the whole organism--is a central theme in biology. Bioengineers, however, wrestle with the converse question: will function follow form? That is, we struggle to approximate the architecture of living tissues experimentally, hoping that the structure we create will lead to the function we desire. A new means to explore the relationship between form and function in living tissue has arrived with three-dimensional printing, but the technology is not without limitations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bioprinting*
  • Humans
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*

Grant support

Support was provided by the John S. Dunn Foundation Collaborative Research Award. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.