Interview with Prof. Paul Dalton: Melt Electrowriting and Biofabrication

Paul Dalton is an Associate Professor at the University of Oregon who specializes in manufacturing technologies for biofabrication. He is credited with inventing and developing melt electrowriting, a distinct class within 3D printing. His research on medical implants involves the use of high-resolution 3D printing and simultaneously promotes grassroots open-source hardware development and low-cost approaches in biomedical engineering. With over 25 years of hands-on experience, his expertise spans various fields, including biomaterials, nanotechnology, tissue engineering, neuroimmunology, experimental surgery, biofabrication, and 3D printing. His interdisciplinary and international perspective is reflected in his previous research and residences in Australia, Canada, China, the UK, and Germany before relocating to the US. Professor Dalton will be speaking at the upcoming MEW 3D Printing event.

When was your first encounter with 3D printing?

Paul: Reading-wise, it was probably some of the early work of Jennifer Lewis on Direct Ink Writing
In the lab, 3D printing was part of making things in the 2000s. Not many
researchers hacked an existing 3D printer, and I always built mine from scratch with individual

What inspired you to start your journey?

Paul: It is where I naturally migrated. I was always a science junkie of different fields who liked making
things, so I suppose I will always end up in this field!

Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D bioprinting?

Paul: Would be Dietmar Hutmacher, definitely. A mentor for 20+ years with thoughtful opinions and is at heart a good person.

Photo Copyright: Paul Dalton

What motivates you the most for your work?

Paul: To do something about the many injuries and diseases the world faces, which are often very
cruel and can happen to people at the early stages of their life. This has to stop.

What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions?

Paul: People who lower expectations of themselves and settle for less than what they could achieve much more. Empowering is part of the solution.

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)?

Paul: Extrusion-based 3D bioprinting must show more compelling data to justify the many billions of R&D dollars and over a decade of intensive research.

If you were granted three wishes by a higher being, what would they be?


  • a) Be able to feed everyone.
  • b) Solving climate change.
  • c) That people would stop using biofabrication and bioprinting interchangeably.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice have you heard that they should ignore?


Good advice: It doesn’t matter what you do; just be as good as you can be at that profession.
Bad advice: If you do another post-doc, it will destroy your career.

What’s your favorite book you read this year and why? Alternatively, what’s your favorite book of all time you read and why?

Paul: Barrows Boys: A Stirring Story of Daring, Fortitude, and Outright Lunacy.

It outlines several 19th-century expeditions to find the Northwest Passage. I love expeditions,
especially in the Arctic.

Related Links:

Metal 3D Printing to Biofabrication: Interview w/ Dr. Herderick

Interview with Natan Barros: 3D Bioprinting and Microfluidics

Interview with Dr. Nicole Black: 3D-Printed Biomimetic Eardrum Grafts

Interview with Y. Shrike Zhang: 3D Bioprinting & Organoids