A Method for High-Throughput Robotic Assembly of Three-Dimensional Vascular Tissue

Tissue Eng Part A. 2019 Sep;25(17-18):1251-1260. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2018.0288. Epub 2019 Aug 9.


Self-assembled tissues have potential to serve both as implantable grafts and as tools for disease modeling and drug screening. For these applications, tissue production must ultimately be scaled-up and automated. Limited technologies exist for precisely manipulating self-assembled tissues, which are fragile early in culture. Here, we presented a method for automatically stacking self-assembled smooth muscle cell rings onto mandrels, using a custom-designed well plate and robotic punch system. Rings then fuse into tissue-engineered blood vessels (TEBVs). This is a critical step toward automating TEBV production that may be applied to other tubular tissues as well.

Keywords: additive manufacturing; biofabrication; self-assembly; tissue manipulation; tissue-engineered blood vessel.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / cytology
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry


  • Polymers
  • polyetherimide