Capillary-Scale Hydrogel Microchannel Networks by Wire Templating

Shusei Kawara, Brian Cunningham, James Bezer, K. C. Neelima, Jingwen Zhu, Meng Xing Tang, Jun Ishihara, James J. Choi, Sam H. Au

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microvascular networks are essential for the efficient transport of nutrients, waste products, and drugs throughout the body. Wire-templating is an accessible method for generating laboratory models of these blood vessel networks, but it has difficulty fabricating microchannels with diameters of ten microns and narrower, a requirement for modeling human capillaries. This study describes a suite of surface modification techniques to selectively control the interactions amongst wires, hydrogels, and world-to-chip interfaces. This wire templating method enables the fabrication of perfusable hydrogel-based rounded cross-section capillary-scale networks whose diameters controllably narrow at bifurcations down to 6.1 ± 0.3 microns in diameter. Due to its low cost, accessibility, and compatibility with a wide range of common hydrogels of tunable stiffnesses such as collagen, this technique may increase the fidelity of experimental models of capillary networks for the study of human health and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2301163
Issue number42
StatePublished - Oct 18 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • bifurcations
  • capillaries
  • hydrogel
  • microchannels
  • microvasculature
  • phantom
  • wire-templating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Biotechnology
  • General Materials Science
  • Biomaterials


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