Hydrogel Injection Molding to Generate Complex Cell Encapsulation Geometries

Amy E. Emerson, Alec B. Mccall, Sarah R. Brady, Emily M. Slaby, Jessica D. Weaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Biofabrication methods capable of generating complex, three-dimensional, cell-laden hydrogel geometries are often challenging technologies to implement in the clinic and scaled manufacturing processes. Hydrogel injection molding capitalizes on the reproducibility, efficiency, and scalability of the injection molding process, and we adapt this technique to biofabrication using a library of natural and synthetic hydrogels with varied crosslinking chemistries and kinetics. We use computational modeling to evaluate hydrogel library fluid dynamics within the injection molds in order to predict molding feasibility and cytocompatibility. We evaluate the reproducibility of hydrogel construct molding and extraction and establish criteria for the selection of hydrogels suitable for injection molding. We demonstrate that hydrogel injection molding is capable of generating complex three-dimensional cell-laden construct geometries using diverse hydrogel materials and that this platform is compatible with primary human islet encapsulation. These results highlight the versatility and feasibility of hydrogel injection molding as a biofabrication technique with potential applications in the clinic and biomanufacturing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4002-4013
Number of pages12
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 12 2022


  • biofabrication
  • cell encapsulation
  • hydrogels
  • tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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