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This content is taken from the University of Wollongong's online course, Bioprinting: 3D Printing Body Parts. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsHello, and welcome to Bioprinting-- 3D Printing Body Parts. Over the next four weeks, we will lead you on a journey of discovery into a world, and until quite recently, was considered the stuff of science fiction. Breakthroughs in 3D printing technology, coupled with recent advances in biomaterials and tissue engineering, has led to an exciting frontier with a future of infinite possibilities. It is now possible to 3D print body parts in the lab. Versions of 3D printing have been accessible for 30 years. But these most recent advances mean the most exciting applications of 3D printing now lie in the medical field. Biomedical engineers and scientists are poised to use 3D printing to spark a revolution in health care.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 secondsThis course tells the story of this revolution. You will be introduced to commonly used biomaterials, including metals, polymers and gels. And learn how bioprinting techniques, such as selective laser melting, extrusion, and inkjet printing, work. You will hear real life stories about how 3D bioprinting has transformed and even saved lives. From heel implants to facial transplants to implantable bioreactors for tissue regeneration. We'll answer questions such as, what is 3D printing, how did it come about. Is it really possible to print scaffolds that incorporate both living and structural components? How long before we can print whole body organs for transplants? What is possible right now? And what will be possible in 20 or even 50 years time?

Skip to 1 minute and 51 secondsAnd what are the limitations of this technology? This course will also equip and encourage you to become part of the story. You'll be given guided opportunities to not only investigate the 3D printing facilities available to you, but to also design, potentially print, and share your creations with your fellow learners. This is an area at the innovative forefront of medical advancement. This will also present challenges on the non-technical front. Ethical issues around safety, regulation, and human experimentation must be addressed. And traditional business models applicable to conventional biomedical manufacturing and health care will be challenged. It's going to be an exciting and illuminating four weeks.

Skip to 2 minutes and 37 secondsI hope you enjoy the course and realise some of the amazing possibilities that are now available through 3D bioprinting.

Welcome to the course

Welcome to this four week course on Bioprinting – 3D Printing Body Parts.

About the course

This course shows the ways that 3D printing and 3D bioprinting are revolutionising the available treatments available for medical needs. Apart from biomedical engineers and scientists, another critical member of our team is the clinician.

It is the clinician who identifies the medical need for a 3D printed structure. As we introduce different projects to you, there is always a clinician driving that particular project. It is the clinician who identifies the medical need, and identifies the potential advantages of using 3D printing technology to deliver a personalised treatment.

During the next four weeks you will learn about how 3D printing has developed into 3D bioprinting. Initially, you will learn about 3D printed prosthetics and implants. Next you will be introduced more specifically to 3D bioprinting technologies. Throughout the four weeks you will be encouraged to think about ethical considerations and ramifications of these technological advances. We encourage you to develop and share an opinion of this technological development.

Returning to the course

Perhaps you have completed this course already? We are continually updating the information to include the latest developments in the field. While you may see much of the same material in weeks one and two, weeks three and four have had multiple updates to include the cutting edge developments which have occurred in the field.

Questions for the educator

To promote engagement with the educator, we have included a step at the end of each week to allow you to ask a question that has not been answered by your fellow learners. Please follow the guidelines outlined in the step description.


Many different people from different walks of life will engage with this course:

  • the general public keen to learn about this medical intervention
  • those with a technical background in science, engineering or medicine considering how the advances impact your chosen field
  • technicians, clinicians and researchers already working in the field of biofabrication keeping a keen eye on the developments that are occurring

One of the benefits of coming together here is the rich conversations that can be had. We encourage you to participate in the Conversation Starters to get the most out of this course. Please do not be afraid to ask that burning question or share insights that you bring from life experience. To participate in or start a discussion either click on the comments or discussions icon in each step.

Conversation starter

We would love for you to tell us a little about yourself:

  • Do you have any experience in the field?
  • What do you hope to learn about 3D Bioprinting?

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This video is from the free online course:

Bioprinting: 3D Printing Body Parts

University of Wollongong