Microfabricated biomaterials for engineering 3D tissues

Pinar Zorlutuna, Nasim Annabi, Gulden Camci-Unal, Mehdi Nikkhah, Jae Min Cha, Jason W. Nichol, Amir Manbachi, Hojae Bae, Shaochen Chen, Ali Khademhosseini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

346 Scopus citations


Mimicking natural tissue structure is crucial for engineered tissues with intended applications ranging from regenerative medicine to biorobotics. Native tissues are highly organized at the microscale, thus making these natural characteristics an integral part of creating effective biomimetic tissue structures. There exists a growing appreciation that the incorporation of similar highly organized microscale structures in tissue engineering may yield a remedy for problems ranging from vascularization to cell function control/determination. In this review, we highlight the recent progress in the field of microscale tissue engineering and discuss the use of various biomaterials for generating engineered tissue structures with microscale features. In particular, we will discuss the use of microscale approaches to engineer the architecture of scaffolds, generate artificial vasculature, and control cellular orientation and differentiation. In addition, the emergence of microfabricated tissue units and the modular assembly to emulate hierarchical tissues will be discussed. Microfabrication approaches for engineering three-dimensional biomimetic tissues are reviewed. Initially fabrication methods for generating structures that are capable of directing cell function are discussed. Subsequently, the applications of these methods in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine towards creating vasculature, directing stem cell differentiation and regulating cellular interactions are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1782-1804
Number of pages23
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 10 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D fabrication
  • biomaterials
  • directed differentiation
  • microfabrication
  • tissue engineering
  • vascularization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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