Researchers from across disciplines are developing new approaches and new materials for creating soft tissues.

Every year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of people learn that the pain in their knee or shoulder is a soft tissue that needs repair or replacement.

Surgical advances have made the process of replacing those injured tendons and ligaments fairly routine. But the science behind creating new soft tissues (including skin) has moved forward more slowly.

And that’s where an interdisciplinary team of researchers at NC State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found a potentially transformative opportunity. Drawn from biomedical and industrial engineering, textiles and veterinary medicine, the group is exploring how to apply 3D printing and nonwoven fiber manufacturing to create new tissues that can grow in the human body.

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Originally published June 6, 2019.