Accepted paper:

Scaffolding expertise: from expectations to interventions in the development of biofabrication


Carlos Cuevas Garcia (Technical University of Munich)

Paper short abstract:

Biofabrication is a novel field focused on the production of biological and biomedical constructs and scaffolds, but the development of the field itself requires solid scaffolding. The presentation will examine how different actors contribute to scaffolding the field of biofabrication.

Paper long abstract:

This presentation will describe and reflect upon the multiple forms of intervention through which different actors are contributing to move forward the field of biofabrication. In the last years, biofabrication has gained attention from governments, funders, the media, and even from a few social scientists and philosophers because of the great promises attached to a key technology used in the field, namely 3D bioprinting. These include the production of drug testing devices that could contribute to reducing the use of animals in scientific research, the production of minor constructs that could be used as medical implants, and the extravagant "ultimate goal" of producing fully functional human organs. Yet, as leading figures of the field suggest, the field cannot be reduced to the use of a technology, and discussions about what will and will not be possible, and how, abound. In the advent of biofabrication and bioprinting, many actors other than scientists are required so that some of the possibilities offered by this field and this technology become reality. Drawing on nearly two years following the field of biofabrication (e.g. conducting interviews, attending seminars and specialist conferences, conducting document research) this presentation will identify different actors that are making or intending to make invaluable contributions to the development of biofabrication. Particular attention will be paid to the different forms in which these actors are intervening and intending to steer the field, and to the "multiple voices" that these actors recur to intending to move the field forward.

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Joining together cells and tissues: novel in vitro technologies in context