Published on 19 Apr 2023

NTU Singapore and A*STAR’s IMRE collaborate on bioprinting and energy harvesting research


(from left) Dr Benjamin Qi Yu Chan (Scientist, IMRE, A*STAR), Prof Loh Xian Jun (Executive Director, IMRE A*STAR), Prof Guan Yong Liang (Associate Vice President, Infrastructure and Programmes, NTU Singapore) and, Professor Paulo Bartolo (Executive Director, SC3DP) at the Project Agreement signing on 24 March 2023

With a globally ageing population, the clinical burden on healthcare systems caused by injuries to tissue interfaces (such as cartilage-bone, tendon-bone, and ligament-bone interfaces) is a substantial and growing challenge. Bioprinting technology has the potential to revolutionise healthcare for the ageing population in Singapore by enabling the creation of 3D-printable replacement tissues and organs. Many industries in Singapore generate significant amounts of waste heat, thus the use of thermoelectric materials, which convert heat energy to electricity, could reduce the country's reliance on imported fossil fuels and lower its carbon footprint. Thermoelectric technology could therefore potentially play a vital role in Singapore's energy mix, particularly in waste heat recovery.

To foster collaborative research in bioprinting and energy harvesting, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) signed an agreement on 24 March 2023 to collaborate on “3D Bioprinting of Biomaterials for Soft-hard Tissue Interfaces” and “3D Printing of Energy Materials” research projects.

The projects aim to (1) develop biomaterials for use in 3D bioprinting that present functional gradients in properties as well as cell-instructive moieties that can mimic the native interface environment between tissues; and (2) embark on the research and optimisation of wearable flexible 3D-printed thermoelectric planar devices for efficient low-grade (<120°C) waste heat harvesting.

“This partnership further strengthens our collaborative efforts in research excellence with A*STAR’s IMRE. The exploration and discoveries, together with our high-impact interdisciplinary research, is aligned with the NTU 2025 vision to shape the evolution of the University,” said Professor Guan Yong Liang (Associate Vice President, Infrastructure and Programmes, NTU Singapore).

"NTU and IMRE share the same commitment to pushing the boundaries of additive manufacturing, and this collaboration is a step in achieving this," said Professor Loh Xian Jun (Executive Director, IMRE, A*STAR). "We are confident that this partnership will bring exciting innovations to various industries, including biomaterials, electronics, energy harvesting and thermoelectric applications."