Dr. NG Wei Long
Research Assistant Professor
HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab
Wei Long’s research interests revolve around development of novel bioinks and engineering functional 3D microenvironments for in-vitro 3D-bioprinted human tissue models. He was awarded the A*STAR Graduate Scholarship in 2013 to pursue his Ph.D. on skin bioprinting in the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He is currently a research assistant professor under the HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab.
Toxicology testing is performed to identify the potential adverse effects a chemical poses to an individual and its surrounding environment. An estimated number of 2000 new chemicals are produced for various applications; routine toxicology tests are conducted on increasing number of new chemicals daily to ensure its safety to potential consumers. An ideal study to evaluate the toxicity of a chemical/substance to humans would require an extremely large number of human subjects who are representative of the diversity of humans, which is unrealistic and unethical. As such, the use of animal models provides preliminary safety data to satisfy conservative regulatory requirements. The crucial issue is the extent to which these animal models can predict human responses in an accurate and reliable manner. A complete ban on animal testing for cosmetics ingredients in 2013 has necessitated the development of alternative in vitro models.
A paradigm shift in the testing models has occurred over the past few years; the implementation of non-animal testing strategy has spurred the development of numerous human-based three-dimensional (3D) in vitro testing models. Bioprinting provides a fully automated and advanced platform that facilitates the simultaneous and highly specific deposition of multiple types of skin cells and biomaterials, a process that is lacking in conventional skin tissue-engineering approaches. The bioprinting technique facilitates the precise deposition of cell droplets and manipulation of the microenvironment to fabricate 3D biomimetic hierarchical porous structures found in native skin tissue. The envisioned goal of skin bioprinting is to fabricate human skin constructs in a high-throughput and scalable manner for potential toxicology testing and fundamental cell biology research.