3D printers are gaining popularity and are quickly becoming a valuable tool in educational laboratories around the world. The ability to create a physical representation of a body part has a number of advantages, both for doctors and medical students. In Poland, the Medical University of Gdansk is a pioneer in implementing 3D printing technology in medical studies.
Dr. Stephen Hilton is a senior lecturer at University College London (UCL) and UCL School of Pharmacy and a member of the faculty of pharmaceutical and biological chemistry. In his work, he uses 3D models to explain the physiology of the human body to students and explain the mechanisms of conducting research.
In his laboratory Hilton uses different models of human organs and shows students how substances interact with them. Using stereolithography (SLA) technology, they print 3D transparent models of organs to show how the substance is released in the stomach at a given time interval, which allows you to understand the mechanisms of action of drugs with extended release time.
His laboratory has five Formlabs Form 2 printers. According to the doctor, FDM printers can create large, low-weight hollow objects, but for small-size prints that require high accuracy, SLA technology will work better.
At University College London, among others, stomach, jaw and teeth models for root canal treatment and for the eyes, brain and many other organs. Thanks to the high accuracy and detail of the models, lecturers are able to show students how different organs work. The Form 2 printer allows you to print optically transparent elements using transparent resin. A model made in this way is a chance for students to look inside the organs studied and analyze how various chemical substances, in powder or tablet form, move and decompose.
Chemistry is an inseparable element of pharmacy and pharmacological research and development. It is important that undergraduate and graduate students fully understand the chemical processes used in pharmaceutical ingredients. As added by Dr. Hiltorn, their 3D printers are used to learn stereochemistry and molecular chemistry – they print 3D models of molecules to explain issues such as chirality, stereochemistry and orbitals.