My name is Dalia Sara Gala and I am doing my integrated Masters at Glasgow University. I am now completing a placement at the Francis Crick Institute in London. I love emerging technologies in regenerative medicine and I am particularly interested in bioprinting, tissue engineering, nanoengineering and imaging. I did an exchange program in Australia during my second year of studies. I did several internships in the United States, Norway and Australia learning various techniques and discovering multiple biological disciplines.
I am addicted to travelling and last week I actually flew 7 times in 7 days! I love visiting and seeing new places, but also the thrill of getting on a plane and knowing I will be miles away in a matter of hours.
1. What sparked your interest in 3D Bioprinting?
I became interested in bioprinting because I heard about a 3D printed skull successfully implanted in a patient with a bone disease in 2014 (http://www.wired.co.uk/article/3d-printed-skull). I thought that it was incredible – this person’s sight and potentially life was saved because scientists can start to manufacture parts of human body for people who suffer from diseases. It fascinated me how you can have a successful interaction of a material or an artificial system with a living tissue for a therapeutic purpose. I later read the BBC profile of Cellink and I was fascinated (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41859942). The skull in 2014 was made of plastic, but Cellink was attempting to 3D print active, living organs. I was amazed at the sea of possibilities emerging with the future progress of organ 3D printing.
2. What do you hope to see happen with bioprinting in your lifetime?
I hope that during my lifetime 3D printing will allow to end the organ transplant waiting lists. Maybe it will just be possible to take some cells from a patient, grow them in special conditions and 3D print them to make a functional organ? Who knows – but we are on the right path to solving the problems which pester modern societies and consume precious lives or prevent people from living them to the fullest.
3. Why do you think it’s important for everyone to care about bioprinting?
I think it’s important that people care about bioprinting not only because it can solve problems such as organ donor list or some chronic diseases, but also because bioprinting is one of the most important and promising achievements of the human kind. Up to now, researchers could not just conjure up organs or bones, but it will soon be possible. Thanks to emerging technologies we can understand the way cells interact with their environment, and our knowledge can help us make them act a certain way.