Interview with Tania Hübscher: Bioengineering Organoids

Tania Hübscher From Switzerland, I did my Bachelor studies in Biology at the University of Neuchâtel. I then joined the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) for my Masters, focusing on neurosciences. During my Masters, I became quite fascinated by stem cells and decided to go to Stanford for my Master’s thesis. There I worked on reprogramming approaches to form neurons. Before starting my Ph.D., I worked for one year as a lab technician. I finally joined the Laboratory of Stem Cell Engineering, the lab of Prof. Matthias, for my Ph.D. in 2018. In the lab, we are mostly working with organoids, and bioengineering approaches towards the next generation of organoid cultures. Tania will be sharing his experiences at our virtual event 3D Bioprinting and Organoids.

Jenny: When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like?

Tania: My first encounter with 3D printing was during a visit to EPFL actually, when I was still a high school student. I was there to look at bachelor studies opportunities, and thought it was really a cool technique! I remember also thinking I don’t understand how people build such devices, but it would be great to learn.  

Jenny: What inspired you to start your journey in bioprinting and organoids?

Tania: In our lab we are looking at ways to build new biological models, mainly based on organoids, using bioengineering. One possibility to do so is to leverage bio-printing to deposit the organoids in a precise shape. 

Jenny: Who inspired you the most along this journey?

Tania: What inspires me the most I think are the discussions with many people in the field, in the lab, in conferences. This excitement for scientific discoveries and their future applications is really there and feeling it is very motivating. 

Jenny: What motivates you the most for your work? 

Tania: What motivates me a lot is to be able to try out new things that have never been done before and think “what if it actually works?”. 

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

Tania: For our work precisely, one of the main issues was to grow enough cells to use for bioprinting.  

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)?

Tania: To me, the biggest challenges in bio-printing are on one hand the functional integration of different cell types in bio-printing, e.g. blood vessels, and on the other hand the upscaling of the printed tissues to real organ scales. 

Jenny: If you are granted three wishes by a higher being, what would they be? 

Tania: It would mostly have to do with time. One would be to be able to predict some aspects of the future and for example, see what discoveries will be needed in a few years, and another one to be able to pause time once in a while and simply enjoy it.

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

Tania: Go for your dream even if it seems crazy. But make sure to be surrounded by good people that will always have your back. 

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