Dr. Jia Min Lee

Research Fellow

Nanyang Technological University

As a believer in training the mind with multifaceted thinking, Dr. Jia Min Lee welcomes opportunities that let me explore beyond my main course of study. She was privileged to explore microbiology and biotechnology during her internship attachment as a biomedical engineer. Her thirst for knowledge spurred her to embark on the Ph.D. journey. As she embarks on her post-PhD journey, she intends to utilize her knowledge from different domains and aspires to pursue her initial intentions to utilize her knowledge in biology and mechanical engineering for innovation in biomedical engineering. She believes that a holistic education system will train students to approach problems at different angles using knowledge from different fields. Healthcare, children, and education are the topics that she is passionate about. And she hopes to have the opportunities to contribute to these areas not as a medical practitioner nor an educator, but as a woman in engineering.

Directed cell alignment via extrusion-based 3D bioprinting for cardiac tissue engineering

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Due to the limited regenerative ability of native myocardium, damaged myocardium cannot be restored. Despite progresses in cardiac tissue engineering over the past decades, it is still far from mimicking the native myocardium. Some design considerations for engineering cardiac tissue includes inducing cell alignment and attaining high cell density within a construct. Bioprinting, a computer-assisted technology, can potentially achieve the abovementioned considerations. The purpose of this project is to fabricate an engineered cardiac tissue via bioprinting. Extrusion-based bioprinting was investigated in terms of printing parameters and material properties to achieve print resolution for efficient nutrient exchange in bioprinted cell-hydrogel construct. Next, a design framework was developed to characterize and formulate materials for material formulation in extrusion printing of C2C12 cells. Following which, a bioprinting strategy, termed support-assisted bioprinting, was established to produce three-dimensionally defined constructs. Support assisted bioprinting has demonstrated printing of three-dimensionally defined cell-hydrogel, where cell alignment was achieved along the longitudinal axis of printed construct. The mechanism of cell-hydrogel remodeling process towards cell alignment in bioprinted construct was mapped. Lastly, enabling technologies in data processing were developed as translational measures towards organ printing. In data processing, machine-readable print path was generated to reflect the differences in fibre orientation of left ventricle wall. This shows the feasibility of bioprinting to better mimic myocardium’s architecture. These findings ascertained the potential of bioprinting towards directing cell alignment in a dimensionally defined construct.