Additive manufacturing of polymeric scaffolds for biomimetic cell membrane engineering

David Sabaté Rovira, Hanne Mørck Nielsen, Rafael Taboryski, Ada Ioana Bunea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Additive manufacturing based on direct laser writing two-photon polymerization facilitates the fabrication of microstructures with full 3D design freedom. Here, this fabrication technique is exploited for engineering scaffolds accurately mimicking the shape and size of three types of human cells. The human cell models employed in the study were chosen to include a range of dimensions and different identifiable features to highlight the versatility of this fabrication approach, yet other cell shapes can easily be fabricated in similar manner. The design and fabrication parameters for the additive manufacturing process were optimized to obtain polymeric scaffolds with biomimetic shapes. After fabrication, the cell scaffolds were converted to polymer-cushioned model cell membranes through layer-by-layer functionalization with a cationic polymer and a lipid bilayer. Scaffold functionalization was verified using confocal laser scanning microscopy. Polymer-cushioned model cell membranes supported on 3D scaffolds mimicking the shape of human cells are particularly suitable for membrane interaction studies where membrane curvature plays an important role. The aim of this study is to demonstrate the engineering of biomimetic cell membranes by high-resolution additive manufacturing combined with surface functionalization. The interdisciplinary approach highlights the value of additive manufacturing as technological solution for challenges encountered in biomedical studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109486
JournalMaterials and Design
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge financial support from the Novo Nordisk Foundation (grant number NNF16OC0021948 ) and VILLUM FONDEN (grant numbers 00022918 and 34424 ). The authors would like to thank technician Karina Juul Vissing for the SUV preparation and Assist. Prof. Feng Wan for useful discussions, Dr. Thomas Pedersen and Berit Herstrøm for optical profilometry measurements, and Prof. Niels Bent Larsen, Assoc. Prof. Rodolphe Marie, Assoc. Prof. Nazila Kamaly, Dr. Jong Hyun Lee, and the DTU Nanolab technicians for their help with equipment access and training.


  • 3D design
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Model cell membrane
  • Surface modification
  • Two-photon polymerization


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