Project partner, Med Uni Graz on their role and vision for PULSE

Project partner, Med Uni Graz talks about evaluating cardiotoxicity and testing the efficacy of radioprotective drugs.

Project partner, Nandu Goswami at the Medical University of Graz

Read the original article in German by Thomas Edlinger, Public Relations and Event Management at the Medical University of Graz.

Bioprinting is a rapidly growing and important field of research in medicine. Similar to 3D printing, bioprinting uses cell material to create organ-like structures or entire organs, which is a very complex process requiring microscopic precision. The PULSE project, funded by the European Union and in which Med Uni Graz is also involved, aims to transport the bioprinting process from Earth to space and research new bioprinting methods there to improve life on Earth and for crews on space missions. The working group of Nandu Goswami from the Department of Physiology & Pathophysiology is leading the project on behalf of the Medical University of Graz.

Hearts from space

The PULSE project aims to use acoustic and magnetic levitation to create organ models that are more complex in structure than those that can be produced on Earth. The microgravity conditions in space make this possible. These conditions allow for the printing of more complex organ constructs with cavities or tunnels, ultimately creating a more realistic organ model that is even better suited for research.

A critical application of PULSE is the creation of in-vitro 3D models of the human heart, which are indispensable tools for research into the effects of space and radiation on the cardiovascular system. These models provide valuable insights into the physiology and pathology of the heart and facilitate the development of preventive and therapeutic solutions for astronauts and cancer patients.

Med Uni Graz plays a pivotal role in the PULSE project, leveraging its expertise to support other project partners. Specifically, the researchers are evaluating the cardiotoxicity of simulated space conditions and testing the effectiveness of radiation-protective medication, showcasing their unique contribution to the project.

EU funding for five years

The European Union is providing approximately four million euros over the next five years to support the project’s technological innovation that will enable bioprinting in space. PULSE plans to launch its International Space Station ISS platform by 2027. “In a proof-of-concept study, we will use this newly developed bioprinting technology to create 3D in vitro models of the heart that can better mimic cardiac physiology compared to organoids. We will use such models to study cardiac ageing and test the efficacy of anti-inflammatory/antioxidant drugs with anti-ageing potential,” says Nandu Goswami, explaining the project’s aims.

Nandu Goswami is the Research Unit Head at the Department of Physiology & Pathophysiology at Med Uni Graz. For the European Space Agency (ESA), he is part of the thrombosis team, and at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), he is a member of a working group on health in space. He is also active in cardiovascular regulation and vascular function research. His research team investigates integrative systems physiological approaches to space and ageing research, including physiological deconditioning and vascular status in health and disease.

Translated by project partner INsociety