Maastricht University (MU) is the most international university in the Netherlands and, with more than 16,000 students and 4,000 employees, still growing. The university stands out for its international character, its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and close ties with companies/industry for the commercial exploitation of research. Situated at Maastricht University, the MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine operates at the interface between biology and engineering for the purpose of regenerating diseased or damaged tissues. The institute has an international reputation for technological innovation and for translating research findings into clinical solutions for patients. The institute employs around 130 scientists including support personnel working in state-of-the-art facilities that were rebuilt and furbished with new equipment approximately 4 years ago. MERLN benefits from close collaboration with an academic hospital, the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences and the Faculty of Science and Engineering.
The Department of Complex Tissue Regeneration (CTR) within MERLN, specializes in biomaterials and biofabrication techniques such as fused-desposition modelling (3D printing), bioprinting, stereolithography, electrospinning and melt electrowriting. With a focus on developing three-dimensional cell culture and bioreactors, the department has significant capacities in multiscale fluidics, light microscopy, and methods for studying cell behaviour with complex microenvironments. Historically, the department has led musculoskeletal tissue regeenration but has since gained a wider focus on technology platforms and fundamental biological concepts that span all tissues and organs. CTR laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for cell culture (including bacterial and viral work), molecular biology, chemical synthesis, materials characterization, biofabrication (including melt and solution electrospinning and a wide spectrum of bioprinting technologies), and microfabrication (including a cleanroom). From the department efforts, 3 products have been successfully translated to the market.