Study level


Master of Philosophy


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Professor Flavia Huygens
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Health
Associate Professor Yi-Chin Toh
Associate Professor
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Engineering


The ability to 3D print bacteria has relevance to a wide range of applications, ranging from developing novel anti-microbial modalities to probiotics for promoting human health.

Traditional culture techniques used in microbiology such as agar plates and suspension cultures have limited spatio-temporal control over the bacteria microenvironment as well as their interaction partners - in particular, mammalian host cells. This project aims to bridge this technological gap by combining 3D printing and microfluidics technologies to spatially control the localisation of multiple microbial and mammalian cells.

Through this effort, we expect to develop new classes of 3D printing bioinks and advanced in vitro culture systems that will enable new insights into how specific gut microbes modulate the functions of their mammalian host cells.

Research activities

As part of this project, you will:

  • perform mammalian cell and bacterial cultures
  • perform immunofluorescence staining, fluorescence imaging, RT-PCR, fluorescence spectroscopy to characterise cell functions
  • formulate of bioinks using a new class of yield-stress fluids (i.e. jammed microgels)
  • complete rheological characterization of bioinks
  • explore embedded 3D bioprinting of bioinks
  • fabricate microfluidic devices.


This project will allow us to 3D print different types of bacterial and mammalian cells in customisable, functionalised 3D milieu that are not only supportive of the individual cell types but also allow them to interact with each other. This will overcome the existing problem of growing gut bacterial cells and mammalian cells together outside of the human body.

Skills and experience

We expect you to have:

  • experience working in a wet-lab
  • working knowledge of 3D printing
  • experience working with Computational Assisted Drawing (CAD) software
  • some simple coding experience.

Experience in mammalian or bacterial cell culture is beneficial but not necessary, and you should be interested in acquiring these technical skills.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.