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Sci Rep. 2017 Nov 6;7(1):14610. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-14726-w.

Freeform micropatterning of living cells into cell culture medium using direct inkjet printing.

Author information

1
Department of Creative IT Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), 77 Cheongam ro, Nam-gu, Pohang, Kyungbuk 37673, Republic of Korea.
2
School of Interdisciplinary Bioscience and Bioengineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), 77 Cheongam ro, Nam-gu, Pohang, Kyungbuk 37673, Republic of Korea.
3
Department of Life Sciences, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), 77 Cheongam ro, Nam-gu, Pohang, Kyungbuk 37673, Republic of Korea.
4
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), 77 Cheongam ro, Nam-gu, Pohang, Kyungbuk 37673, Republic of Korea.
5
Department of Creative IT Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), 77 Cheongam ro, Nam-gu, Pohang, Kyungbuk 37673, Republic of Korea. sjjung@postech.ac.kr.
6
School of Interdisciplinary Bioscience and Bioengineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), 77 Cheongam ro, Nam-gu, Pohang, Kyungbuk 37673, Republic of Korea. sjjung@postech.ac.kr.

Abstract

Microfabrication methods have widely been used to control the local cellular environment on a micron scale. However, accurately mimicking the complexity of the in vivo tissue architecture while maintaining the freedom of form and design is still a challenge when co-culturing multiple types of cells on the same substrate. For the first time, we present a drop-on-demand inkjet printing method to directly pattern living cells into a cell-friendly liquid environment. High-resolution control of cell location is achieved by precisely optimizing printing parameters with high-speed imaging of cell jetting and impacting behaviors. We demonstrated the capabilities of the direct cell printing method by co-printing different cells into various designs, including complex gradient arrangements. Finally, we applied this technique to investigate the influence of the heterogeneity and geometry of the cell population on the infectivity of seasonal H1N1 influenza virus (PR8) by generating A549 and HeLa cells printed in checkboard patterns of different sizes in a medium-filled culture dish. Direct inkjet cell patterning can be a powerful and versatile tool for both fundamental biology and applied biotechnology.

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