Integration of clinical perspective into biomimetic bioreactor design for orthopedics

Victoria Drapal, Jordan M. Gamble, Jennifer L. Robinson, Candan Tamerler, Paul M. Arnold, Elizabeth A. Friis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The challenges to accommodate multiple tissue formation metrics in conventional bioreactors have resulted in an increased interest to explore novel bioreactor designs. Bioreactors allow researchers to isolate variables in controlled environments to quantify cell response. While current bioreactor designs can effectively provide either mechanical, electrical, or chemical stimuli to the controlled environment, these systems lack the ability to combine all these stimuli simultaneously to better recapitulate the physiological environment. Introducing a dynamic and systematic combination of biomimetic stimuli bioreactor systems could tremendously enhance its clinical relevance in research. Thus, cues from different tissue responses should be studied collectively and included in the design of a biomimetic bioreactor platform. This review begins by providing a summary on the progression of bioreactors from simple to complex designs, focusing on the major advances in bioreactor technology and the approaches employed to better simulate in vivo conditions. The current state of bioreactors in terms of their clinical relevance is also analyzed. Finally, this review provides a comprehensive overview of individual biophysical stimuli and their role in establishing a biomimetic microenvironment for tissue engineering. To date, the most advanced bioreactor designs only incorporate one or two stimuli. Thus, the cell response measured is likely unrelated to the actual clinical performance. Integrating clinically relevant stimuli in bioreactor designs to study cell response can further advance the understanding of physical phenomenon naturally occurring in the body. In the future, the clinically informed biomimetic bioreactor could yield more efficiently translatable results for improved patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-337
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • biomimetic
  • bioreactor
  • bone
  • cartilage
  • clinical relevancy
  • multiple stimuli
  • orthopedics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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