NIH shares 3D printing data in effort to enhance medicine

Thursday - 6/19/2014, 5:00pm EDT

By Stephanie Wasko
Special to Federal News Radio

The National Institutes of Health launched the NIH 3D Print Exchange website where printing files can be downloaded and edited by the public.

"3-D printing is helping to advance science at NIAID and beyond," said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci. "The ability to design and print tangible models of pathogens, for example, can give researchers a fresh perspective on the diseases they study and open new and promising lines of investigation."

Because of 3-D printing's impact on science and medicine, NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases created the public website as a sharing platform. It hopes the website will "expand interest and participation in this new and exciting field among scientists, educators, and students."

NIH uses 3-D printing to study viruses, improve lab equipment and plan medical procedures, according to an agency press release.

In addition to providing printing files, the 3D Print Exchange has video tutorials for new users and discussion forums, NIH stated. It also offers tools to convert scientific and clinical data to printable files.

The Wednesday launch coincided with the first White House Maker Faire, which celebrates entrepreneurship, creativity and invention in science and technology.

"I am proud to host the first-ever White House Maker Faire," President Barack Obama said on Tuesday. "This event celebrates every maker, from students learning STEM skills to entrepreneurs launching new businesses to innovators powering the renaissance in American manufacturing. I am calling on people across the country to join us in sparking creativity and encouraging invention in their communities."

The President also announced June 18 as a National Day of Making.

Other NIH components collaborated with NIAID including Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Library of Medicine. The Department of Health and Human Services provides partial funding for the 3D Print Exchange.

Stephanie Wasko is an intern with Federal News Radio.

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