Inside 3D Printing Brazil: BioEdTech is Bringing Bioprinting to Brazil and Beyond

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Startup BioEdTech, which recently attended Inside 3D Printing Brasil 2019, is focusing on spreading the word about 3D printing through education, offering courses, training sessions, and development of innovations in the area of ​​bioprinting. There is a huge gulf between the possibilities that bioprinting can provide and actual practice. Globally there are only a few hundred people who can successfully operate bioprinting machines. By creating more of those people through training we can really accelerate the adoption of bioprinting worldwide. But, globally where can one go to get bioprinting training? How can you learn how to be a machine operator? How can you as a scientist learn how to use these machines? Simply put, in many regions around the world you have no chance of finding training. You will be on your own, left to through trial and error learn to do this. Except of course in Brazil where you can receive training through BioEdTech. 

Janaina Dernowsel, founder and CEO at BioEdTech, also has a lot to say about educating Brazilians in 3D printing, and more specifically, bioprinting. According to the researcher, last year she noticed great interest from society and professionals in the area, as well as research groups and startups. Dernowsel wanted to develop courses with a methodology based on the challenges of the area, learn about the applications of bioprinting, and develop technical skill sets in biology and engineering.  

“We are training a lot of professionals from other bioprinting startups and, since we started, three months ago, we have trained 53 students and professionals. Along with fellow startup CombTech, we have developed low-cost bioprinters for training and research and with pharmaceutical giant Merck we develop products and reagents to prepare the bioinks and analyze bioimpressed cells and tissues,” suggested Dernowsel to 3DPrint.com.

BioEdTech’s proposal is to expand the training courses for private, public universities and also technical schools. But in the meantime, they also have 18 research groups that already began developing innovative approaches to bioprinting. Some of the ongoing projects include working closely with a bioinks team to develop engineering methods for incorporating vascularized tissue for three-dimensional bioprinting using the open-source RepRap 3D printing system, facilitation of a multi-extruder system, algorithmic calibration of bioinks, and local temperature control for hydrogel reversibility, as well as other endeavours with the Center for Information Technology Renato Archer, where Dernowsel did her post-doctorate in Bioprinting in 2018.

BioEdTech’s low-cost printers for training (Image: BioEdTech)

By making bioprinters low cost and accessible her company will help get bioprinting in the hands of more practitioners. Bioprinters are now extremely expensive and rare worldwide. Few scientists or laboratory professionals have ever seen one let alone operated one. A low-cost bioprinter that can be used as a testbed for teaching and getting acquainted with bioprinting technologies is key to getting more people to do bioprinting research. Without low-cost hardware, bioprinting won’t be able to spread worldwide. Think of the huge democratization in computing power between the room filling supercomputers and the desktop PC’s that we’re low cost and available to many. Bioprinting now is a very remote technology that many people in the field have little access to. By lowering the cost of hardware dramatically this company could really help democratize this industry.

The other key element is training. Through making training accessible it is solving another key bottleneck in bioprinting. BioEdTech is really maximizing access to bioprinting. Usually, we are used to seeing South American firms lag behind developments in other regions in 3D printing. In this case, BioEdTech is really leading in making this technology much more accessible to all.

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