Loading Platform for Three-Dimensional Tissue Engineering Scaffolds


Project ID: D2016-48

IP Status: Patent Pending


Technology Summary:
Bioreactor systems are a vital cue in the process of 3D tissue engineering and the formation of tissue contracts. Bioreactors capable of stretching three-dimensional (3D) cellular constructs are considered to be good biomimetic models due to their ability to mimic the complexities of the cellular microenvironment along with mechanical cues. However, commercially available strain bioreactors typically lead to non –homogenous strain distribution within the collagen construct where the strain experienced by the cell inside the construct vary significantly based on their spatial location. Thus, there is a persistent demand for uniaxial tensile strain bioreactors that can produce enlarged area of homogenous strain distribution within 3D cellular constructs along with the minimal risk of construct disintegration. Currently, cosmetic companies can generate about 20 skin care cosmetic formulations in a week, but due to limitations of current skin cosmetic testing platforms, they can only test about 100 formulations in a year. Thus, there is also a great demand for creating an efficient, reliable, and custom surface area-sized human skin substitute cosmetic testing platform that is able to reduce the product development cycle time.


Invention Description:
Researchers at the University of Toledo have developed a novel uniaxial tensile strain bioreactor to apply homogenous cyclic strains to 3D cell-encapsulated collagen constructs or ex vivo organs without compromising its structural integrity. The novel bioreactor uses silicone-based loading chambers specifically designed to effectively stretch the 3D collagen constructs without direct gripping of the constructs. It is easy to set up, operate, and maintain, and is compact enough to fit into a standard cell culture incubator.



  • Device can generate atrificial skin including wrinkled skin for cosmetics skin testing.
  • In vitro tissue scaffold and ex vivo organ culturing for soft tissues including tendons, ligaments, skin, muscle, diaphragm.


  • Capable of applying cyclic and static uniaxial tensile mechanical loading at a wide range of strains and loading frequencies on cellular scaffolds to mimic the in vivo environment of musculoskeletal and other tissues that experience uniaxial strains on a daily basis.
  • Achieves high and efficient strain transfer from the loading chamber to the scaffolds due to the design configuration of the chamber.
  • Eliminates scaffold handling procedures involved during transfer from culture to loading since the culture chamber is used as a loading chamber
  • Can be used to elucidate cellular signaling mechanisms undergone at physiological state, acute and chronic injuries as well as healing and rehabilitation phases
  • Provides a valuable input for devising tissue engineering strategies for soft tissue repairs and create engineered substitutes for tissue regeneration.
  • Serves as an in vitro platform to study the cellular uptake behavior and efficacy of pharmaceutical drugs when subjected to mechanical loading


  1. Creating Homogenous Strain Distribution within 3D Cell-encapsulated Constructs Using a Simple and Cost-effective Uniaxial Tensile Bioreactor: Design and Validation Study
  2. Effect of Uniaxial Tensile Cyclic Loading Regimes on Matrix Organization and Tenogenic Differentiation of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells Encapsulated within 3D Collagen Scaffolds



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Stephen Snider
AVP Tech Transfer
The University of Toledo
419 530 6225
Eda Yildirim-Ayan
Gayathri Subramanian
Mostafa Elsaadany
Cellular Scaffold
Tissue Engineering