NASA Research Aims to Print Wood in Space

By on February 21st, 2014 in materials

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In a completely new twist for the world of 3D printing, two researchers are working to create a new bioprinting methodology that would see clumps of cells spawn custom engineered, non-living biomaterials.

Funded in part by one of NASA’s $100,000 Innovative Advanced Concept grants, evolutionary biologist Lynn Rothschild and her PhD student Diana Gentry are looking to engineer cells that can be printed and then activated to create biological materials like bone, enamel and wood.

“Cells in nature are already highly specialized for making complex biological materials on a micro scale.” Reads a description of the project furnished by NASA. “We envision combining these strengths with the recently emergent technologies of synthetic biology and additive manufacturing to create 3D-structured arrays of cells that are bioengineered to secrete different materials in a specified three-dimensional pattern.”