Student Constructs 3-D Printer to Augment Research into Bioprinting

Justin SamorajskiSenior biochemistry major Justin Samorajski took matters into his own hands last summer when he decided to build the Physics Department a 3-D printer. Making good use of open source software and construction plans, he presented a proposal to Richard Olenick, professor of physics and department chair, and within a month had amassed a table piled with parts and blueprints.

"Even though UD's course offerings aren't as large as some other schools there's always the option to create your own independent study," said Samorajski. "That's what enabled me to explore a new area of interest which otherwise might have been inaccessible."

With Arthur Sweeney, adjunct physics professor, serving as his advisor, Samorajski constructed the printer. After printing a variety of 3-D objects out of plastic, including more parts for the printer, and, his proudest achievement, a 2.5% scale replica of Braniff Memorial Tower modeled off the official blueprints, Samorajski is now working with Stephen Slaughter, assistant professor of biology, to develop the printer's applications for cell cultures and printing living tissue. 3D printing technology has long-term ramifications for, as an example, organ transplants.

"One day, 3-D printing may allow us to use a patient's own cells to grow a replacement organ," he said.

"We want people to know about the crazy science things we do in the Physics Department," said Samorajski, who is considering both medical school and chemical and biomedical engineering as possible career paths.

Photo: Justin Samorajski (left) presented President Thomas Keefe with a 2.5% replica of the Braniff Memorial Tower.

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