Precision Biofabrication Hub

A cube composed of tiny bricks glows blue against a dark background.
These tiny, 3D-printed bricks can be assembled like Lego blocks and serve as scaffolding onto which cells can grow to help repair broken bones and soft tissue.

We fight cancer with tissue engineering

At the Precision Biofabrication Hub of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute we use precision engineering and the tools of biofabrication to build complex models of cancer.

This page provides a brief introduction to the hub. Visit our website to learn more.

Visit our website.

What is biofabrication?

Magazine cover shows photoillustration of translucent cubes sprouting from a pipette. The cubes contain tiny blood vessels.
Our work on bioprinting geometrically controlled microgels was featured on the cover of Advanced Healthcare Materials.

Biofabrication is the science of creating structures that are alive. More specifically, it’s the automated generation of 3D structurally organized and functional living tissues. It uses cells, biomaterials and bioactive molecules as a starting point.

The vast potential of this technology is still being explored. But three applications have emerged:

  • Basic biology research: We can use biofabrication to create complex systems and study them to better understand natural processes.
  • Cancer treatment: We can take cells from a patient’s tumor and use biofabrication to create “tumor avatars.” We can test treatments on the avatars to predict which treatment will work best.
  • Regenerative medicine: We can create structures that mimic organs, bone or other tissue to replace tissues that were destroyed by cancer or other illness.
Infographic depicts the field of biofabrication in a green oval, drawing from other disciplines.
Biofabrication combines the fields of cell biology, materials science, micro fabrication, regenerative medicine, and 3D prototyping.

What is the Biofabrication Hub?

We are a research initiative and a shared research facility in the Knight’s Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center.

We are a multidisciplinary team of investigators and experts on tissue engineering, microfluidics, microfabrication, bioprinting, cancer cell biology and materials science.

We offer expertise and state-of-the-art equipment for a collaborative network of cancer biologists and engineers.

The hub was founded in 2022 with a grant from the Murdock Trust.

Our research

The hub is focused on using precision engineering to replicate the complexity and dynamics of the tumor microenvironment in three dimensions.

Current projects include:

  • Bioprinting geometrically controlled pre-vascularized injectable microgels for tissue regeneration.
  • Engineering tumor models with single-cell spatial resolution.
  • Patient-derived tumors-on-a-chip.
  • Microfluidic organs-on-a-chip.
  • Developing integrated multi-organoid platforms.

Contact us

Join our team

Support our work