National Science Foundation-funded researchers have developed a technique to improve the characteristics of engineered tissues by using ultrasound to align living cells during the biofabrication process. To align the cells, the researchers built an ultrasound chamber that allows ultrasonic waves to travel across the area where a bioprinter prints living cells. These ultrasonic waves travel in one direction and are then reflected back to their source, creating a "standing ultrasound wave." The sound waves effectively herd the cells into rows, which align with areas where the ultrasound waves and the reflected waves cross each other. To demonstrate the viability of the ultrasound-assisted biofabrication technique, the researchers created a knee meniscus, with the cells aligned in a semilunar arc -- just as they are in a natural meniscus.
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