WCMM Molecular Medicine Fellow Darcy Wagner, a researcher at the faculty of Medicine, is one of the talented early researchers who have been awarded with the ERC starting grants. The award is for her research on ”Bioengineering lung tissue using extracellular matrix based 3D bioprinting”. The ERC Starting Grants is a grant from the European Research Council for early researchers from all over Europe within different research areas. This year the competition was high with 3107 applications, and among them 403 talented researchers were awarded with up to 1.5 million euro each.
At Lund University four researchers were awarded and ERC Starting Grant, one of them is Darcy Wagner at the Department for Experimental Medical Science. Darcy Wagner and her team do research on chronic lung diseases, illnesses which have an increasing prevalence with over 65 million patients worldwide. For many of these patients, lung transplantation is the only potential option. Annually, around 4000 patients receive lung transplants but even more are waiting. New options to increase available tissue for lung transplantation are desperately needed. That is why Darcy Wagner is searching for new alternatives.
Darcy Wagner’s research area focuses on generating lung tissue in the lab using bioengineering approaches. Scaffolds can be generated from synthetic or biologically-derived (acellular) materials, seeded with cells and grown in a bioreactor prior to transplantation. Ideally, scaffolds would be seeded with cells derived from the transplant recipient, thus limiting the need for long-term immunosuppression, where complications are known to occur for transplant recipients.
With the ERC grant she wants to explore if new advances in 3D printing and 3D bioprinting (when cells are printed) can be a new option for lung tissue for transplantation.