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McNair Scholar 2017Austin Leikvoll

Austin Leikvoll is a junior majoring in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development at the University of Minnesota. His research interests involve the use of stem cells in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and translational research. Mr. Leikvoll plans to pursue a career in medicine and biomedical research.

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My dream is to conduct groundbreaking research that will impact the lives of patients and improve human health. I want to see a world in which no one dies waiting for an organ transplant.

Research project

Developing a Muscle Tissue Construct Using 3D Bioprinting

Abstract: Bioprinting is an emerging bioengineering approach with great potential for creating tissue and organs suitable for transplantation. Synthesizing functional muscle is an important goal for bioengineering of vascular, cardiac, gastrointestinal, and skeletal muscle tissues. Bioprinting has been used to create skeletal muscle tissue constructs which exhibit cellular alignment and have features small enough to allow media diffusion to cells deep within the constructs. In this study, a bioprinted construct was created for use in muscle bioengineering. A hydrogel of 5% gelatin-methacryloyl (GelMA), 2% alginate, and 0.5% LAP photoinitiator (% w/v) was printed with the support of a Pluronic® F-127 in 0.3M CaCl2 hydrogel (Pluronic/CaCl2). The GelMA/alginate hydrogel crosslinked upon contact with the Pluronic/CaCl2 hydrogel, allowing features smaller than 300µm to be printed despite the low viscosity of the GelMA/alginate hydrogel. In the future, this hydrogel can be laden with myoblasts to test the feasibility of using this approach for muscle tissue engineering. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Dr. Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari is a Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and the Director of the Cytokine Reference Laboratory and Bioprinting Facility at the University of Minnesota. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario and completed post-doctoral training in the Department of Pathology at the University of Alabama and in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Panoskaltsis-Mortari’s laboratory research focuses on bioengineering lungs using decellularized scaffolds with the goal of creating lungs for autologous transplant. Her research also focuses on using bioprinting to create esophageal tissue for transplantation.