The summer internship was a hands-on experience that allowed students the opportunity to learn the basics of tissue engineering, 3D printing and medical device design.
Abrahams was able to create his own 3D printable materials as well as learn methods to "analyze the 3D-printed constructs using micro-computed tomography to take 3D medical images of different samples and then mechanical testing to determine how strong those constructs were."
"The Biomaterials Lab is a perfect environment for these types of projects," said Dr. Antonios Mikos, Director of the Biomaterials Lab. "We remain committed to STEM outreach and are always delighted to promote science."
Abrahams and the other eight students were able to collaborate on two engineering projects during the week-long internship. The students took what they had learned and applied it by designing, developing and fabricating their own prototype 3D-printed scaffolds. The participants then made 3D models which they 3D printed from various biomaterials.
The students had the opportunity to work alongside Rice graduate students and postdoctoral students to test the devices by placing them in a mechanical testing machine to determine the devices' comprehensive strength.
"We loved welcoming such talented and inquisitive students into the lab," said Associate Director of the Biomaterials Lab, Dr. Anthony Melchiorri. "These students all have a bright future in science and engineering should they choose a STEM career, and we were impressed by the effort and creativity they put into designing their own 3D-printed bone scaffolds."
This internship experience was performed in partnership with Awty International School, Tomball High School, Seven Lakes High School, the Center for Engineering Complex Tissues, and the Biomaterials Lab.