3D Printing of Microgel-Loaded Modular Microcages as Instructive Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering

Ramesh Subbiah, Christina Hipfinger, Anthony Tahayeri, Avathamsa Athirasala, Sivaporn Horsophonphong, Greeshma Thrivikraman, Cristiane Miranda França, Diana Araujo Cunha, Amin Mansoorifar, Albena Zahariev, James M. Jones, Paulo G. Coelho, Lukasz Witek, Hua Xie, Robert E. Guldberg, Luiz E. Bertassoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biomaterial scaffolds have served as the foundation of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. However, scaffold systems are often difficult to scale in size or shape in order to fit defect-specific dimensions, and thus provide only limited spatiotemporal control of therapeutic delivery and host tissue responses. Here, a lithography-based 3D printing strategy is used to fabricate a novel miniaturized modular microcage scaffold system, which can be assembled and scaled manually with ease. Scalability is based on an intuitive concept of stacking modules, like conventional toy interlocking plastic blocks, allowing for literally thousands of potential geometric configurations, and without the need for specialized equipment. Moreover, the modular hollow-microcage design allows each unit to be loaded with biologic cargo of different compositions, thus enabling controllable and easy patterning of therapeutics within the material in 3D. In summary, the concept of miniaturized microcage designs with such straight-forward assembly and scalability, as well as controllable loading properties, is a flexible platform that can be extended to a wide range of materials for improved biological performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2001736
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • cell migration
  • growth factor delivery
  • instructive scaffolds
  • microgels
  • vascularization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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