What are you interested in?

All topics
Social Sciences
Life Sciences
Exact Sciences


Jul 8th, 2024
How Does Origami Enhance Bioprinting?

TAU researchers apply the art of origami to advance 3D bioprinting

Researchers at Tel Aviv University relied on principles of origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, to develop an original and innovative solution for a problem troubling researchers worldwide: positioning sensors inside 3D-bioprinted tissue models. Instead of bioprinting tissue over the sensors (found to be impracticable) they design and produce an origami-inspired structure that folds around the fabricated tissue, allowing the insertion of sensors into precisely pre-defined locations.


The study was a joint effort of researchers from several units at TAU:  the School of Neurobiology, Biochemistry and Biophysics, the Koum Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Sagol Center for Regenerative Medicine, the Sagol School of Neuroscience and the Drimmer-Fischler Family Stem Cell Core Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine. The researchers are Noam Rahav, Adi Soffer, Prof. Ben Maoz, Prof. Uri Ashery, Denise Marrero, Emma Glickman, Megane Beldjilali-Labro, Yakey Yaffe, Keshet Tadmor, and Yael Leichtmann-Bardoogo. The paper was published in the leading scientific journal Advanced Science.


The 3D Origami Platform integrated in a 3D printed structure.


Prof. Maoz explains: "The use of 3D-bioprinters to print biological tissue models for research is already widespread. In existing technologies, the printer head moves back and forth, printing layer upon layer of the required tissue. This method, however, has a significant drawback: The tissue cannot be bioprinted over a set of sensors needed to provide information about its inner cells, because in the process of printing the printer head breaks the sensors. We propose a new approach to the complex problem: origami".


MSOP: Where Art Meets Science in Bioprinting

The innovation is based on an original synergy between science with art. Using CAD (Computer Aided Design) software the researchers design a multi-sensing structure customized for a specific tissue model - inspired by origami paper folding. This structure incorporates various sensors for monitoring the electrical activity or resistance of cells in precisely chosen locations within the tissue. The computer model is used to manufacture a physical structure which is then folded around the bioprinted tissue – so that each sensor is inserted into its predefined position inside the tissue. The TAU team has named their novel platform MSOP – Multi-Sensor Origami Platform.


The new method's effectiveness was demonstrated on 3D-bioprinted brain tissues, with the inserted sensors recording neuronal electrical activity. The researchers emphasize, however, that the system is both modular and versatile: it can place any number and any type of sensors in any chosen position within any type of 3D-bioprinted tissue model, as well as in tissues grown artificially in the lab such as brain organoids – small spheres of neurons simulating the human brain.


Origami's Scientific Touch

Prof. Maoz adds: "For experiments with bioprinted brain tissue, we demonstrated an additional advantage of our platform: the option for adding a layer that simulates the natural blood-brain barrier (BBB) – a cell layer protecting the brain from undesirable substances carried in the blood, which unfortunately also blocks certain medications intended for brain diseases. The layer we add consists of human BBB cells, enabling us to measure their electrical resistance which indicates their permeability to various medications".


The researchers summarize: "In this study, we created an 'out-of-the-box' synergy between scientific research and art. We developed a novel method inspired by origami paper folding, enabling the insertion of sensors into precisely predefined locations within 3D-bioprinted tissue models, to detect and record cell activity and communication between cells. This new technology is an important step forward for biological research".


Jun 26th, 2024
TAU Shatters Limits with Self-Healing Glass

TAU researchers create transparent, self-healing adhesive glass that forms in contact with water.

  • Life Sciences
  • Engineering

Researchers from TAU have created a new type of glass with unique and even contradictory properties, such as being a strong adhesive (sticky) and incredibly transparent at the same time. The glass, which forms spontaneously when in contact with water at room temperature, could revolutionize in an array of diverse industries such as optics and electro-optics, satellite communication, remote sensing and biomedicine. The glass has been discovered by a team of researchers from Israel and the world, led by PhD student Gal Finkelstein-Zuta and Prof. Ehud Gazit from the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research at the Faculty of Life Sciences and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering at TAU. The research results were published last week in the prestigious scientific journal Nature.


"In our laboratory, we study bio-convergence and specifically use the wonderful properties of biology to produce innovative materials", explains Prof. Gazit. “Among other things, we study sequences of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Amino acids and peptides have a natural tendency to connect and form ordered structures with a defined periodic arrangement, but during the research, we discovered a unique peptide that behaves differently from anything we know: it didn’t form any ordered pattern but an amorphous, disordered one, that describes glass".


(Left to right) Gal Finkelstein-Zuta and Prof. Ehud Gazit.


Just Add Water

At the molecular level, glass is a liquid-like substance that lacks order in its molecular structure. Still, its mechanical properties are solid-like. Glass is usually manufactured by rapidly cooling molten materials and “freezing” them in this state before they are allowed to crystallize, resulting in an amorphous state that allows unique optical, chemical and mechanical properties – alongside durability, versatility, and sustainability. The researchers from TAU discovered that the aromatic peptide, which consists of a three-tyrosine sequence (YYY), forms a molecular glass spontaneously, upon evaporation of an aqueous solution, under room-temperature conditions.


"The commercial glass we all know is created by the rapid cooling of molten materials, a process called vitrification", says Gal Finkelstein-Zuta. "The amorphous liquid-like organization should be fixed before it arranges in a more energy-efficient way as in crystals, and for that energy is required – it should be heated to high temperatures and cooled down immediately. On the other hand, the glass we discovered made of biological building blocks, forms spontaneously at room temperature, without the need for energy such as high heat or pressure. Just dissolve a powder in water – just like making Kool-Aid, and the glass will form. For example, we made lenses from our new glass. Instead of undergoing a lengthy process of grinding and polishing, we simply dripped a drop onto a surface, where we control its curvature – and hence its focus – by adjusting the solution volume alone".


Solid peptide glass after preparation.


The properties of the innovative glass from TAU are unique in the world – and even contradict each other: it is very hard, but it can repair itself at room temperature; It is a strong adhesive, and at the same time, it is transparent in a wide spectral range, ranging from the visible light to the mid-infrared range.


An Unbreakable Marvel

"This is the first time anyone has succeeded in creating molecular glass under simple conditions", says Prof. Gazit, "but not less important than that are the properties of the glass we created. It is a very special glass. On the one hand, it is very strong and on the other hand, very transparent – much more transparent than ordinary glass. The normal silicate glass we all know is transparent in the visible light range, the molecular glass we created is transparent deep into the infrared range. This has many uses in fields such as satellites, remote sensing, communications and optics. It is also a strong adhesive, it can glue different glasses together, and at the same time, can repair cracks that are formed in it. It is a set of properties that do not exist in any glass in the world, which has great potential in science and engineering, and we got all this from a single peptide - one little piece of protein".

Tel Aviv University makes every effort to respect copyright. If you own copyright to the content contained
here and / or the use of such content is in your opinion infringing, Contact us as soon as possible >>