[Researcher of the Month] Fusion Research in Enlightenment
Professor Choi Dong-ho (Department of Medicine)
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Professor Choi Dong-ho of the Department of Medicine is June’s Researcher of the Month for his active role in developing knowledge in the field of medicine. In his paper, “Design and Fabrication of a Thin-Walled Free-Form Scaffold on the Basis of Medical Image Data and a 3D Printed Template: Its Potential Use in Bile Duct Regeneration”, Choi explains how he has created the bile duct, a body part that exports bile from liver to duodenum with 3D printer and being able to successfully conduct clinical demonstration on rabbits.
For 20 years, Choi has been working on stem cell research which has eventually led to the stage of creating artificial organs with 3D printing techniques. Bile duct is one of the very sensitive body parts where it is hard to fix once problem occurs. Although there are artificial blood vessels, there has been no artificial bile ducts created. What makes it so complicated to make is that since bile is carried through the bile duct, it shrinks as time goes on if created with the material as commonly used as Gore-Tex. The material should be sturdy enough to withstand the bile, and it should be flexible enough to be sewed up as well which is definitely not an easy task.
The diagram above depicts the process of creating bile duct. It first goes through the data acquisition through MRI images and 3D designing. As some cells are mixed up to the mold, it grows into the shape and size as designed. Important technique here is to develop the bio ink that congeals once it flows out of the 3D printing machine. Creating hydrogel and mixing up the stem cells to it is another important task to be completed.
Choi’s team is currently in the stage of obtaining patent in the techniques to create artificial organs through 3D printing. Since there are tremendous types of researches to be carried out through his studies, ranging from stem cell reprogramming to drug screening, Choi wishes that creating safe artificial organs in the end is what he wishes to achieve. “I am still doing translational research with various other departments and I hope that what I create can be of help to not only the patients, but even for my family as well in times of emergency,” concluded Choi.
Kim Seung-jun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Moon Hana
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