ARMI | BioFabUSA and member, Advanced Solutions Life Science (ASLS), took full advantage of DiscoverE’s “Introduce A Girl to Engineering Day” by introducing two young women to the field of bioengineering. And what better way to introduce them to the field than to let them test-drive Advanced Solutions’ BioAssemblyBot®?
When Sarah Bushman, Staff Scientist at Advanced Solutions, was originally asked if she would be willing to demo the BioAssemblyBot® for two high school girls, she agreed instantly:
“It is important to inspire young people to continue the discovery process. In order to get people involved in the sciences you need to make them excited and show them all the cool opportunities they could have with a scientific career. I especially love getting women exposed and involved in STEM opportunities. Women are definitely the minority in the STEM fields and exposing young women to the opportunities with a career in science is the first step in getting more women involved in the field.”
Windham High School’s Dean of Science and Engineering, Michael Koski, and Biology Teachers Christy Johnson and Karalyn Gauvin accompanied two girls from Windham High on Wednesday afternoon where they were exposed to various aspects of bioengineering. Sarah took more than an hour of time to demonstrate and explain how the BioAssemblyBot® has the capability of moving in up to six different degrees of freedom, and how it is capable of 3D printing cell systems and 3D assays, experimental tissue models and microenvironments, organ models, and more.
Regan and Amanda, both juniors, watched a demo of the BioAssemblyBot® and then designed their own 3D-structure in the TSIM (Tissue Structure Information Modeling) software 3D modeling program, sent it to the HMI (human-machine-interface), and then set the tissue-printing robot into motion. The two girls marveled as the six-axis robot moved about, printing the structure that they had created just seconds before. They were so enthralled with what they made, they asked if they could take it home to show their teachers and friends back at school.
When all was said and done, the two girls walked out of ARMI with not only a heightened interest in the field of bioengineering, but also with a paraffin film covered petri-dish that contained a .5-inch gelatinous cube printed by the BioAssemblyBot®. When they got home, the two girls raved to their parents about the demo; enough so that Regan’s mother, Robin, reached out expressing her gratitude:
“Thank you so much for the opportunity for Regan to attend the presentation yesterday. She barreled into the house with such excitement and told us how cool it was and what she learned about. I think it solidified her decision to pursue a degree in Bioscience. I am wondering if you know of any STEM programs or internships or any other programs that you think she might find interesting to attend next summer.”
In the future, the Biofabrication industry will need not only bioengineers but also researchers, clinicians, manufacturers, supply chain specialists and manufacturing engineers among many others. It’s efforts such as these that are so critical to the success of not only ARMI | BioFabUSA, but the industry as a whole. That industry success starts with teachers like those from Windham High and scientists like Sarah who are willing to contribute their passion and professionalism with girls like Regan:
“I personally have been interested in biomedical engineering for a while and have been interested in majoring in it. I think being able to see applications of the science have helped me to feel more confident in going into biomedical engineering. The experience was phenomenal.”