Interview: Dr. Mayasari Lim, founder and CEO of SE3D, a startup focused on next generation 3D bioprinters

Dr. Mayasari Lim is founder and CEO of SE3D, a startup focused on next-generation 3D bioprinters and its applications in research and education. Previously, she was a professor in Bioengineering at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), a top engineering university in Singapore. Her research expertise included stem cell engineering, bioprocess design, bioprinting and tissue engineering. Dr. Lim is an active woman entrepreneur among the Indonesian professionals and women engineering community in the Bay Area, she is also currently teaching courses at the Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership in UC Berkeley. Dr. Lim obtained her Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London and her B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering at UC Berkeley. Dr. Lim will be a speaker at the #3DHEALS2018 conference on April 20-21st, 2018. 
Jenny: When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like? What were you thinking at that moment?
Maya: My first encounter was in 2010 while I was teaching at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, we got a couple 3D printers into the lab for our undergraduate program. I couldn’t get over how cool this technology is, the many possible things we can do with it and my mind kept going back to … “if only I had this when I was a kid growing up, imagine the things I could have created with it”. I have always liked to tinker and build things when I was a kid.
Jenny: Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D printing (bio-printing/bio-fabrication)? This can be a mentor, a patient, a celebrity, anyone basically. You can name more than one as well.
Maya: My students inspired me most during this journey in 3D printing and bioprinting. Just seeing the ideas and things they were able to come up with, how interested they become with bioprinting and discussing with them the many possible projects we could do with the technology really excited us as a team.

The r3bEL X is a desktop bioprinter for advancing research and discoveries in bioscience and biomedicine. The r3bEL mini is a compact desktop bioprinter for classrooms and teaching labs. 

Jenny: What motivates you the most for your work?
Maya: What motivates me now is the possibilities we can do with bioprinting and the challenges that we still need to overcome to achieve some of these goals. In order for us as a community to reap the benefits of these technologies, we really need a cohesive effort to make things happen.
Jenny: What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions?
Maya: Being a startup in a relatively young field, the biggest obstacle we face is not knowing. There is so much for us to learn as a small company and a lot of times nobody has the answers to these questions. And personally, as a CEO, I need to take risks, make assumptions to make decisions that I think would be best for the company.
Jenny: What do you think is (are) the biggest challenge(s) in 3D Printing/bio-printing? What do you think the potential solution(s) is (are)?
Maya: The biggest challenge right now in bioprinting to create replacement tissues/organ I believe is the need to combine multiple techniques to achieve the complex architecture necessary. There is also still a lot for us to learn in the biology and integration of tissues that would be important to achieve this goal.
Jenny: What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice you heard should they ignore?
Maya: My advice to students is to discover and explore as much as possible at this stage of their lives. Keep an open mind because you never know what opportunities might lie ahead of you but in order for you to capture these opportunities you need to work hard to best prepare yourselves for the “real world”.
Jenny: What is your favorite quote? Why?
Maya: My favorite quote in Mandarin translates to “when there is a problem, there is a solution, and there is hope” My mom shared this quote with me as I left home and went off to college. Being 8000 miles away, those words always reminded me of her own strength and resilience in solving any problem that came to her.
Jenny: What does the word “3DHEALS” mean to you? =)
Maya: It means hope and our future.