Student Constructs 3-D Printer to Augment Research into Bioprinting
Senior 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.