3D Printing in Suspension Baths: Keeping the Promises of Bioprinting Afloat

Andrew McCormack, Christopher B. Highley, Nicholas R. Leslie, Ferry P. W. Melchels

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

182 Citations (Scopus)
185 Downloads (Pure)


Extrusion-based 3D printers have been adopted in pursuit of engineering functional tissues through 3D bioprinting. However, we are still a long way from the promise of fabricating constructs approaching the complexity and function of native tissues. A major challenge is presented by the competing requirements of biomimicry and manufacturability. This opinion article discusses 3D printing in suspension baths as a novel strategy capable of disrupting the current bioprinting landscape. Suspension baths provide a semisolid medium to print into, voiding many of the inherent flaws of printing onto a flat surface in air. We review the state-of-the-art of this approach and extrapolate toward future possibilities that this technology might bring, including the fabrication of vascularized tissue constructs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-593
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Biotechnology
Issue number6
Early online date16 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • 3D printing
  • bioprinting
  • hydrogel
  • self-healing
  • suspension baths
  • tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering


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