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McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

IMSE Seminar: "3D Printed Conducting Polymers as Bioelectronic Scaffolds"

Monday, September 26, 2022 | 1:00 PM

Stephen F. & Camilla T. Brauer Hall, 12
6548 Forest Park Pkwy, St. Louis, MO 63112, USA

Prof. Alexandra Rutz, Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis

Three-dimensional materials are used to support the generation and culture of in vitro tissue models as well as to support in vivo tissue regeneration after trauma or disease. Three-dimensional cell-material interactions can be achieved by using scaffolds, materials fabricated into 3D objects internally structured with microporosity. Traditional methods of making biomaterial scaffolds include porogen leaching, freeze-drying, and electrospinning but these may lack precise control of material and structural properties. Advanced manufacturing methods of 3D printing can instead be used to create sophisticated 3D matrices. These biomaterial scaffolds provide not only a physical structure for cell assembly into tissue but also biochemical and mechanical instruction. Beyond these capabilities, next-generation scaffolds possessing embedded technology are being presented. For example, bioelectronic scaffolds can contain electrodes or sensors for controlling, stimulating, or monitoring biological activities. We have developed methods for 3D printing the conducting polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) into microporous scaffolds, which when electronically connected may function as macroelectrodes for electrical stimulation of cells or tissue. In this seminar, I will discuss materials development and processing methods to fabricate such bioelectronic scaffolds, as well as their resulting properties. Emerging applications of these scaffolds in regenerative bioelectronic devices and in vitro monitoring systems will also be discussed.

Event Type



Arts & Sciences, McKelvey School of Engineering


Science & Technology



Biomedical Engineering, Institute of Materials Science & Engineering
Event Contact

Beth Gartin, bgartin@wustl.edu

Speaker Information

Prof. Rutz graduated from University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (B.S., 2011) where she double majored in Chemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology. She obtained her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering with a focus in Biomaterials from Northwestern University in 2016 (Chicago, IL, USA). Her doctoral thesis focused on engineering hydrogel bioinks for 3D printing tissues and organs. With support from the Whitaker International Scholars Program and the Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, Prof. Rutz conducted her postdoctoral research in Malliaras Bioelectronics Lab at Ecole des Mines de St. Etienne (Gardanne, France, 2016-2017) and the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK, 2017-2020). Her work focused on developing new materials for bioelectronics, including slippery coatings from implantable probes, as well as fabricating and studying conducting polymer-based devices. In 2021, Prof. Rutz started her independent career at Washington University in St. Louis where she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Her lab is  focused on bridging living systems with technologies through the design of materials and development of advanced manufacturing methods. Outside the lab, Prof. Rutz likes to garden and be outdoors, cook & go out to restaurants, and spend time with her husband and pets.

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