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‘I’ve seen something like this once in my career’

The Loveland City School District is thrilled to announce three Loveland High School (LHS) seniors – Nathan Bryant, Cameron Spicer and Thomas Worsham – have created a working 3D bioprinter. The functioning bioprinter has the ability to print and grow bacteria – and is the culmination of a nine-month capstone project the students began as juniors as part of the LHS biotechnology class.

“You don’t see this happen every day,” said Jamie Allison, LHS biotechnology teacher. “I’ve seen something like this happen now once in my career.”

“In medicine what you can do is take cells from an organ if a patient needs an organ transplant and then put the patient’s cells into it and actually make an artificial organ,” explained Worsham.

“Ours is printing scaffolding that has bacteria in it, where they would have real human live cells and be creating very complex shapes and living structures.”

“This is a proud moment for all of us in education,” said Loveland Superintendent Chad Hilliker. “This was a lesson in passion and perseverance, and I believe it proves when given the tools and the freedom to flex their creative muscle what our students can accomplish. It is phenomenal, and I salute these students and their teachers – all of them – on achieving this amazing feat.”

The biotechnology capstone is a student-selected project that is the pinnacle of research for LHS students enrolled in the course.

“You get to learn things you never knew possible,” said Spicer. “You get to test the boundaries and push the boundaries of what high school students can do.”

The team converted a 3D router system originally designed to cut out wood into the 3D bioprinter; the moment of realization that it worked was one Teacher Jamie Allison described as an emotional experience.

“Before I realized it, I had tears running down my face,” said Allison. “We brought the AP Bio teacher down – she was teary on the spot. I hope I get to see it again, but if I don’t, I know that I was in a school where I had students that were prepared enough by the district, and then I just gave them the push and a few other skills to do something like this. If this is what my career ends like, I’m okay… I’m fine with that.”