Ernst Jan Bos works on 3D bio-printing at the VUMC, something that allows for the combinations of cells and biomaterials. After a deep burning of the face the tissue is often damaged beyond repair. As such, Bos is currently working on creating a feasible method to engineer new ear and nose cartilage for time and cost effective human implants.
Cartilage is essential to form but also to the function of ears and nose and so tissue engineering cartilage might offer the solution to facial reconstructions. Stem cells have already been able to form new cartilage together with cartilage cells, but to grow cartilage in the right shape and with the right properties is still a major challenge. 3D bio-printing is hopefully the answer to these problems.