Artificial blood vessels for cultured meat
Kent State University, United States
Who: Jessica Krieger, Ph.D. student in biomedical sciences
When: 2017 – 2018
Institutes: Kent State University, United States
Supervisors: Min-Ho Kim, associate professor of biological sciences at Kent State University; William Chilian, department chair of integrative medical sciences at Northeast Ohio Medical University
Jess is designing a bioreactor system that will recreate the blood vessels found in the body. Her bioreactor will act as an artificial “heart” that pumps media (artificial “blood”) into the muscle. Her system will also “exercise” the muscle to improve its development, the same way that muscle is exercised inside the body to increase its strength.
In an animal, the heart pumps fresh oxygen and nutrients through blood and a dense network of vessels distributes it throughout the muscle. Without this system, the cells in the innermost part of the muscle are starved. Jess’ bioreactor will serve as the heart and blood vessels for growing cultured meat.
Jess’s work, in collaboration with Han Zhang’s project, led to a prototype of a modular bioreactor for growing meat. In 2018, New Harvest provided a grant to IRNAS, a Slovenian organization specializing in open-source hardware development, to continue development of Jess’ prototype. To learn more about the bioreactor and ongoing work see our blog post.