Traditional tissue engineering applications aim to produce tissue models functioning as a replacement for damaged tissues by the introduction of desired biomolecules and/or cells to the damaged region. Controlled deposition of these biomolecules and cells holds great importance since differentiation/proliferation and subsequent cellular behavior are highly dependent on the relationship between cells and the biomolecular and physicochemical properties of the surrounding tissues. 3D bioprinting is one of the most reliable techniques for such applications, and the choice of biomaterials interacting with enclosed cells is one of the key parameters to achieve proper tissue models. Each additional different material within the tissue replacement unit brings its own cytotoxicity risks with them, and natural polymeric material mimics can be seen as the optimum solution to avoid any related issue. Artificial cell studies in a relationship with biomaterials are a rising focus of interest in this particular research area due to their cell-like behavior and non-toxic nature.
In this research project, we aim to synthesize coacervate-based artificial cells that carry differentiation-inducing cues and/or regeneration-supporting agents to use them as natural cell mimicking artifacts along with real cells within 3D bioprinted structures. The effect of structural and mechanical properties of produced 3D units on cellular behavior, controlled induction of cellular fate, and induction/inhibition of proliferation will be studied along with the project duration with a special interest in specific tissue types.