UTEP to Test 3D-Printed Bio-Tissue in Suborbital Flight
Last Updated on December 22, 2021 at 3:15 PM
Originally published December 22, 2021
By MC Staff
UTEP Marketing and Communications
Groundbreaking work could impact human health in spaceflight
EL PASO, Texas (Dec. 22, 2021) — The University of Texas at El Paso’s efforts to reach into space have achieved a critical milestone. Binata Joddar, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Metallurgy, Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering, has completed testing on 3D-printed bio-tissue produced at UTEP that will be integrated into a neural-sensing device and tested in suborbital space flight in spring 2022.
“This work has groundbreaking potential on how we assess the health of human beings while they are in space,” Joddar said. “With our growing emphasis on commercial spaceflight, more experiments will be conducted on the International Space Station and in lower Earth orbit. UTEP is at the forefront of that research.”
Joddar’s work was conducted through a $140,000 grant as part of an overall project awarded to imec USA through NASA’s Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration and Infusion (REDDI) program. The grant is one of several awards for Joddar’s 3D-printed bio-tissue research throughout the past year that total nearly $1.4 million.
Through the REDDI program, Joddar along with Andie Padilla, a biomedical engineering doctoral student at UTEP, are working with imec, a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies headquartered in Leuven, Belgium. Imec produces the electrophysiology probe that will be inserted in the UTEP bio-tissue when it launches into space next spring.
Joddar said imec USA has been conducting testing throughout the year to maintain a signal between its probe and UTEP’s bio-tissue. Contributing to the testing process is Padilla, who is currently serving an internship at the imec USA lab in Kissimmee, Florida, where she is working directly with imec on the device’s ability to capture electrophysiological readings from the tissue.
The opportunity to work on this project is a welcome challenge for Padilla, who lauded Joddar’s ability to assist her through her first research experience.
“It’s been really challenging, but Dr. Joddar and others have made it easy to keep moving forward,” Padilla said. “I am honored to contribute to a project like this that can have an impact.”
“This is a phenomenal example of UTEP’s contributions to space exploration,” said Patricia A. Nava, interim dean of the College of Engineering. “Dr. Joddar’s work has the potential to solve real-world issues that will usher in the next stage of evolution for human spaceflight.”
About The University of Texas at El Paso
The University of Texas at El Paso is America’s leading Hispanic-serving university. Located at the westernmost tip of Texas, where three states and two countries converge along the Rio Grande, 94% of our more than 24,000 students are minorities, and half are the first in their families to go to college. UTEP offers 169 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs at the only open-access, top tier research university in America.
Imec is a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, energy and education.
As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities, we bring together more than 4,000 brilliant minds from over 97 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, U.S., and offices in China, India, and Japan.