Synthetic Biosystems

The ACES Synthetic Biosystems theme will develop benchtop structures to probe cellular behaviour and implants that support the regeneration of native tissue.

Grand Challenge: Understanding and controlling cell behaviour in three dimensions.

The Synthetic Biosystems program creates implantable structures to assist with the development of tissue structures, utilising new materials and additive fabrication techniques developed at ACES.

We are developing electromaterial-based micro-tissue constructs for in-vitro cell development and synthetic tissue studies, in addition to systems for in-vitro disease modelling studies.

These devices could assist in monitoring, maintaining and (where necessary) restoring function in neural tissues, and may provide treatments for epilepsy, schizophrenia and the ageing human brain.


Our Strengths: This theme represents a convergence of our expertise in advanced biomaterials development and biofabrication. Appropriate structural, bioactive and electromaterials will be arranged in 3D to enable fundamental and applied studies. These biomaterial structures will be fabrication via 3D printing, fibre-spinning and other techniques.


Research Goals:

  • Establish 3D culture platforms to study the growth and development of living cells, with an emphasis on the differentiation of stem cells into functional tissue.
  • Establish the impact of 3D electromaterial structures on growth, differentiation and function of derivative tissue.
  • Develop 3D in vitro devices that will enable studies into controlled tissue development, disease modelling and diagnostics.



Treatments for:

  • Epilepsy;
  • Schizophrenia;
  • The ageing human brain;
  • Repairing neural tissue in a range of conditions.


Case Study

The Project: Developing a three-dimensional neural construct for accurately modelling neurological disorders using 3D bioprinting.

The Challenge: Developing a more effective way to study neurological disorders, and provide a platform that ultimately facilitates improved treatments for patients.

The Research: This research project aims to develop a more effective way to study single-cell function and neural network activity.

The current laboratory norm is to conduct these studies in two-dimension. Unfortunately, the two-dimensional nature of these substrates impedes the multi-dimensional network formation that occurs within the brain, limiting the functional outcomes and applicability of laboratory results to the natural state.

In this project, researchers are developing a three-dimensional culture system using 3D bioprinting techniques to better mimic natural neural tissue.

This approach will enable cells to replicate their natural growth patterns, network development, and functional activity in the laboratory setting.

The Impact: A culture system accurately representing the brain will significantly improve our understanding of neural network formation at the cellular level and facilitate development of more effective interventions for neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, dementia and multiple sclerosis.

Facility Options

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