Q&A with Dr. Ravi Birla – Get to know BIOLIFE4D’s Chief Science Officer

Our team consists of passionate scientists and medical professionals – each with a plethora of experience. One in particular, is our Chief Science Officer, Dr. Ravi Birla. Birla has been with BIOLIFE4D since 2018 and brings years of experience in the field of cardiac tissue and organ fabrication. Before BIOLIFE4D, Birla was the Associate Director of the Department of Stem Cell Engineering at the Texas Heart Institute, leading daily operations and scientific direction for large scale research initiatives. Birla has published a comprehensive textbook in the area of functional tissue engineering, with over 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers.

To learn a bit more about Dr. Ravi Birla, check out a Q&A below!

Tell us about your role – what does a day in your life at BIOLIFE4D look like?

As Chief Science Officer, I help guide the strategic direction of the company and our team of scientists. My role is to understand the scientific and technological challenges in the field of whole heart engineering and come up with solutions to very complex problems. This involves understanding current state-of-the-art technologies, ensuring an in-depth understanding of the literature, talking to experts in the field, and attending scientific conferences in the area. With this understanding in place, my role is to develop a cohesive scientific strategy to lead the company to achieve predefined milestones. 

What motivated you to choose this career?

I entered into the field of Tissue Engineering in 1998, with a desire to use my background and training in engineering to solve complex problems in medicine. To date, this remains my objective. 

Why is 3D bioprinting such an important technology within the medical industry?

The major advantage of bioprinting as a biofabrication technology is the ability to spatially regulate the distribution of cells relative to the extracellular matrix. 

What is the next targeted scientific milestone for BIOLIFE4D’s technology?

A few of our recent scientific milestones include our cardiac patch, mini-heart, mitral and aortic valves, and vascular grafts. The next targeted milestone is beating hearts.

What other applications exist for 3D printed organs besides transplant?

Models for basic cardiology research and making the transition from monolayer 2D culture to 3D bioengineered constructs, a transition which has proven to be more difficult than we anticipated almost two decades ago. 

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