In this episode, I had the pleasure to chat with professor Stephanie Willerth at the University of Victoria, also the founder and CEO of Axolotl Biosciences about bioprinting and bioink. Stephanie is not only an expert in bioprinting and bioinks in general, but also one of a few scientists in the world focusing on using 3D cell models on common but devastating neurological diseases such as GBM, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease. We started with some basic concepts related to bioprinting, bioinks, organoids, and organ-on-a-chip, and some of the general current applications and ongoing researches. All of these technologies, however, require sophisticated bioink formulation to achieve structural and functional goals. Also, who are the major players in commercial bioprinting?
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About our guest for this episode:
Dr. Willerth holds a Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Victoria where she has dual appointments in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Division of Medical Sciences as an Associate Professor.
She serves as the Acting Director for the Centre for Biomedical Research at the University of Victoria and on the steering committee of the B.C. Regenerative Medicine Initiative. She also served as the President of the Canadian Biomaterials Society from 2017-2018. Her honors include being named the 2018 REACH award winner for Excellence in Undergraduate Research-inspired Teaching, a Woman of Innovation in 2017, one of the 2015 Young Innovators in Cellular and Biological Engineering, and a “Star in Global Health” by Grand Challenges Canada in 2014. She spent the Fall of 2016 on sabbatical at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery supported by the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries International Travel Award where she wrote her book “Engineering neural tissue using stem cells” published by Academic Press.
She completed her postdoctoral work at the University of California-Berkeley after receiving her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University. Her undergraduate degrees were in Biology and Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.