How structure relates to function—across spatial scales, from the single molecule to the whole organism—is a central theme in biology. Bioengineers, however, wrestle with the converse question: will function follow form? That is, we struggle to approximate the architecture of living tissues experimentally, hoping that the structure we create will lead to the function we desire. A new means to explore the relationship between form and function in living tissue has arrived with three-dimensional printing, but the technology is not without limitations.
Miller JS (2014) The Billion Cell Construct: Will Three-Dimensional Printing Get Us There? PLoS Biol 12(6): e1001882. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001882