Programmable transport and diffusion through artificially vascularized network

Nicholas Fang, Mechanical Engineering, UIUC

From venation of leaves to the tracheae of insects, the blood and lymph vessels as well as neurons, 3D filamentous branching networks are a common pattern in all higher organisms. They supply the tissue with nutrition, water, oxygen and information, as well as to expel the waste. Nowadays 3D imaging capability such as functional MRI and microCT already unveil the sophisticated tissue structures down to micron resolution. However, challenges remain as how to replicate these highly interconnected tubular network with engineering approaches. The difficulties in constructing micrometer-scale branching network in three dimensional scaffold using traditional fabrication methods call for a fundamental change in the approaches. In this talk we demonstrate a set of innovative 3D microfabrication technologies that will serve as a vehicle to bridge the emerging tissue engineering techniques to applications in a broad spectrum of vital tissues and organs. This technology offers the capability of creating complex 3D structure with embedded micro-scale architectures.