Bioprinted hydrogel microfluidics to mimic tissue barriers

Group: Biomimetic systems for cell engineering
Group leader: Elena Martínez (

Microfluidics it is nowadays recognized as a key technology in which, by controlling small volumes of fluids in microsystems, allows progress in fields such as biology, medicine, tissue engineering, toxicology and biomedical engineering. While the vast majority of developments in microfluidic devices rely on microchannels produced by standard microfabrication techniques derived from the silicon microelectronics industry, new components are being added as important elements to these systems. In particular, hydrogels, which are three-dimensional polymeric networks of polymers that mimic the architecture, water content and mass transfer potential of the extracellular matrix of soft tissues, are considered to revolutionize the impact and potential of in vitro processes mimicked by microfluidics [1]. However, at present, including hydrogels in microfluidic devices is a tedious and sometimes not very well controlled process. In our group we have been working in developing biofabrication strategies that use light-induced photopolymerization and customized photopolymerizable hydrogels to produce in vitro models of the intestinal barrier [2,3]. In this project, we propose to exploit the unique characteristics of our custom-made biofabrication light-based set up to produce hydrogel-based microfluidic devices that will mimic tissue barriers such as the intestinal barrier or the endothelial barrier.


[1] Goy C.B; Chaile, R.E.; Madrid, R. E. Microfluidics and hydrogel: A powerful combination. Reactive and Functional Polymers, 145 (2019 104314

[2] Vila, A*., Torras, N*., Castaño, A.G., García-Díaz, M., Comelles, J., Pérez-Berezo, T., Corregidor, C., Castaño, O., Engel, E., Fernández-Majada, V., Martínez, E.*, 2019. Hydrogel co-networks of gelatin methacrylate and poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate sustain 3D functional in vitro models of intestinal mucosa Biofabrication (in press)

[3] Castaño, AG; Garcia-Diaz, M; Torras, N; Altay, G; Comelles, J; Martinez, E. Dynamic photopolymerization produces complex microstructures on hydrogels in a moldless approach to generate a 3D intestinal tissue model, Biofabrication 2019, 11(2) art no. 025007