Photo of Gabriel Liguori

Biotechnology & medicine

Gabriel Liguori

His platform for manufacturing cellular tissues using 3D bioprinting could reduce the need for organ donation for transplants.

Year Honored


Latin America

About 150,000 organs are transplanted each year. But the number of people in need of a transplant worldwide is much higher, causing many to die on the waiting list. The young Brazilian doctor Gabriel Liguori estimates that the daily deaths of people in need of a transplant amount to 500. 

Liguori, who was born with a congenital heart disease that forced him to spend a lot of time in the hospital and undergo surgery as a child, is well aware of this. It was his experience with this problem that prompted him to create TissueLabs, a platform with different materials designed to create artificial organs and tissues in the laboratory. Thanks to this proposal, Liguori has been named as one of MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 Latin America 2020 in Spanish. 

His 3D bioprinters and TissueLabs' other patented products facilitate the biofabrication of tissues with living cells. Once created, researchers can use them to develop new drugs and research various diseases. The young man says that more than 40 labs and more than 200 scientists worldwide already work with TissueLabs products "for biomedical research." 

Its bioprinters are less expensive than others on the market, making them accessible to researchers in less developed countries. In addition, these artificial tissues reduce the need to use animal models for research and enable personalized studies with drugs and other techniques. This advance will also eliminate the risk of rejection of the transplanted organ and the need for transplant recipients to take immunosuppressants for the rest of their lives. 

TissueLabs' products already make it possible to produce simple tissues such as heart valves and blood vessels. In 15 years, his goal is to develop equipment capable of biofabricating complex organs such as the heart without the need for transplantation. It was also his heart defect that drove him to study medicine and conduct research to solve these conditions without resorting to transplants during his doctoral phase. "Ever since I was a child, I knew that I would like to be a doctor to help other children born like me," the young man recalls.  

It is "a good idea, with great potential," says Candy Patricia Flores-Gracia, Secretary of Outreach at the Faculty of Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and member of the jury of Innovators under 35 Latin America 2020.