Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

John P. Geibel


Our hypothesis was that vascular grafts could be created using three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting technology. Our goal was to create vascular grafts that could be implanted as a patch into a rat vessel without rupture or occlusion. We utilized printing technology from Organovo to 3D print vascular graft material consisting of rat smooth muscle cells, rat fibroblast cells, gelatin and a hydrogel mixture. Our vascular grafts were printed as tubular structures with an internal diameter of 3mm. After a period of maturation (7-12 days), a segment of the print was cut out and used to repair an arteriotomy or venotomy created in rat aorta or inferior vena cava, respectively. We found that the animals survived and that the grafts remained in place without evidence of rupture or stenosis over the course of 30 days. Animals were sacrificed 7 days or 30 days after implantation to evaluate how the graft changes over time; histological examinations of the patched vessels suggest that the patch adapts to the host site and does not induce a major inflammatory response. Although more work is needed to further characterize the behavior of these patches in vivo, our results demonstrate that 3D bioprinting is a viable option for creating vascular patch grafts.


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