WNPR

Science Series Kicks Off at UConn With a Conversation on 3D "Bioprinting"

May 20, 2015

One of the scientists is working on developing a 3-D printed liver.

Scientists and thinkers from around the state will gather in Hartford next month for a panel discussion on 3D printing. The idea is to foster better conversations between researchers and the public.

If you've ever tried reading a scientific paper, they can be hard to understand. There are numbers, charts, and a lot of speak that's, well, inside baseball.

"Talking about what you do, when what you do can be so technical, can be difficult," said Kim Krieger, a research writer at UConn. "People often get buried in their own head and find it difficult to talk to regular people about it."

So Krieger and UConn's Caitlin Trinh are helping to organize the university's first "Science Salon." The series will feature conversations between scientists and the public about research and the future roles technology will play in our lives.

The inaugural topic? 3D "bioprinting," and how it could transform the medical industry.

"I've known a lot of 3D printers, 'maker' people. Most of what they make is like plastic crap," said Krieger. "It's cute. It's cool. It's tchotchkes. So, the idea of seeing a 3D printer that makes something real -- and, obviously, vital, useful -- is very exciting to me."

Trinh said one of the scientists who will speak at the salon is working on developing a 3-D printed liver. He'll talk about what the technology could hold for the future of organ donation and there will also be an economist and ethicist available to answer audience questions about cost and access, 3D printing's rapid emergence, and the moral issues surrounding growing human tissue. 

In case you've never seen a 3D printer live, Trinh said there will be a demonstration, too.  The salon series kicks off at NIXS on Front Street in Hartford on Thursday, June 4 at 6:00 pm.