It is important for us to engage with the world around us to learn in new ways daily. There is no better classroom than the real world. 3DHEALS is an organization that is building a global platform for people to learn and collaborate on healthcare 3D printing and bioprinting, and related technologies. This organization has been holding events across the globe for people to learn about bioprinting. Their events typically are held with a variety of local speakers from the community where the event is being held. It allows the local community within additive manufacturing and bioprinting to learn from each other. It is a great way to build community and allow people to collaborate and network. Outside of their events, 3DHEALS is focused on being a platform for emerging companies to have a network and possibly funding for their ideas.
3DHEALS has a focus on education as well. Jenny Chen, Founder and CEO of 3DHEALS who also has an MD from Harvard, briefly spoke on something that is important to her during a panel discussion I attended for 3DHEALS in Chicago recently. Jenny talked about the importance of decentralization of healthcare resources. She spoke on the fact that the traditional healthcare structure is weakening and it should be shifting towards a decentralization of resources and information, thus empowering people to be preventive within their own healthcare versus coming in for a problem after the fact. There is not a lot of info and resources out there for people to do such.
The Chicago 3DHEALS event was very informative. The event was technical enough to be challenging but had useful information for all levels of participants. From being around different people in the room, there was a sense of awe that a lot of people had not crossed paths until then. There were a lot of people who had significant overlap with their career fields, but never met before the event. That was nice to see the community of Chicago being able to mingle in that way.
The speakers for the Chicago event were great as well:
- Adam Jakus PhD – Co-founder of Dimension Inx
- Steven Morris – CEO of BIOLIFE4D
- Stephen Anderson PhD – Business Development Manager at Renishaw
- Alejandro Espinoza – Spine Biomechanics Lab, Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery – Biomechanics Researcher at Rush
Adam Jakus is a co-founder of the company Dimension Inx, which is focused on bioprinting materials, but more specifically a new technique that they believe will revolutionize 3D Printing. The company believes the key to unlocking and enabling revolutionary technologies and products lies in new, functional, advanced manufacturing compatible materials. With expansive and easy to implement material platform technologies, Dimension Inx wants to enable the next revolution in medical and non-medical technologies across industries. Their technique is called 3D Painting. In a future article, we will do an interview with Dimension Inx and Adam to get a real sense of what their company and technology does.
Steven Morris is the CEO of BIOLIFE4D, which is committed to perfecting the technology to make viable organ replacement a safe, accessible and affordable reality. BIOLIFE4D hopes to create a patient-specific, fully functioning heart through 3D bioprinting and the patient’s own cells, eliminating the challenges of organ rejection and long donor waiting lists that plague existing organ transplant methods. The biggest problem with transplants in the medical scene is that we are using a foreign object and placing it into a system that does not recognize the transplant instantly. BIOLIFE4D is leveraging stem cells within our own bodies to create tissue scaffolds that will lead to the creation of organs. We will reach out to them soon to get a more in-depth look at what they are doing as well.
Stephen Anderson is Business Development Manager at Renishaw, a global company with core skills in measurement, motion control, healthcare, spectroscopy and manufacturing. The company supplies products and services used in applications as diverse as jet engine and wind turbine manufacture, through to dentistry and brain surgery. It is also produces metal 3D printing machines, where it is the only UK business that designs and makes industrial machines which ‘print’ parts from metal powder. Anderson spoke about interesting initiatives the team at Renishaw is exploring within bioprinting, and specifically, outsourcing their expertise to people looking to build new polymers. The most applicable usage of their technology within the world of bioprinting is related to dentistry implants as well as spinal implants.
Alejandro Espinoza is a Biomechanics Researcher for the Spine Biomechanics Lab at Rush University. The Spine Biomechanics Laboratory is housed in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. As part of an orthopedics program that is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report, the laboratory has access to world-class orthopedic care, driven by research. The researchers study the effects of aging, tissue degeneration and altered biomechanics in the cervical and lumbar regions of the spine. Their main goal is to find an explanation to the elusive question of why back pain happens and how can one best help patients overcome it. Espinoza spoke in-depth about the need for other universities to adopt this type of technology more readily.
All of these speakers were able to give 10 minute summaries of their work for an audience of additive manufacturing professionals in Chicago. It was a great event with a lot of learning and networking done. 3DHEALS is really leveraging social media well and it is amplifying the connection to others within the newer space of bioprinting. I would highly suggest anyone who wants to learn more about bioprinting to check out an event by 3DHEALS and see if they are coming to your city soon.
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