The presence of two fundamentally distinct approaches to ‘produce’ tissues is becoming evident in the field of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. The first, and original approach is to ‘grow‘, or cultivate required tissues through combinations of cell selection, control of cell activity and use of support materials, over extended culture periods. The second hopes to ‘fabricate‘ simple tissues by assembly from basic components, rather like we make mobile phones or automobiles. These latter examples of direct, bottom-up tissue fabrication tend to be based on sequences of layers and zones and include forms of 3D ink-jet/cell printing and micro-layer fabrication-assembly. A working example of this (known as Rapid Tissue Fabrication/RaFT) is based on a process of plastic compression of collagen and layer engineering, invented and developed in UCL. This general platform is potentially applicable to fabrication of many important tissue types for a host of clinical and drug testing uses. But at least as important is the manner in which its application has taught (reminded) us of the importance and use of ‘direction’ in biological fabrication.
Directions to the Gustave Tuck lecture theatre: situated on the third floor of the South Cloisters. The easiest way to reach the lecture theatre is to enter through the main gates on Gower Street, opposite the Cruciform building. Head towards the grand Wilkins Building and turn right. Take the second door which will be in the far right hand corner, turn right and walk through a second set of doors keeping to the right again. There will be a staircase in front of you with signs leading to the Gustave Tuck lecture theatre (two flights).