4-D flow control in porous scaffolds: Toward a next generation of bioreactors

Khalid Youssef, Nanette N. Jarenwattananon, Brian J. Archer, Julia Mack, M. Luisa Iruela-Arispe, Louis S. Bouchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Tissue engineering (TE) approaches that involve seeding cells into predetermined tissue scaffolds ignore the complex environment where the material properties are spatially inhomogeneous and evolve over time. We present a new approach for controlling mechanical forces inside bioreactors, which enables spatiotemporal control of flow fields in real time. Our adaptive approach offers the flexibility of dialing-in arbitrary shear stress distributions and adjusting flow field patterns in a scaffold over time in response to cell growth without needing to alter scaffold structure. This is achieved with a multi-inlet bioreactor and a control algorithm with learning capabilities to dynamically solve the inverse problem of computing the inlet pressure distribution required over the multiple inlets to obtain a target flow field. The new method constitutes a new platform for studies of cellular responses to mechanical forces in complex environments and opens potentially transformative possibilities for TE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7423746
Pages (from-to)61-69
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017


  • Bioreactor
  • flow control
  • porous scaffold
  • shear stress
  • tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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