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Organoids, iPSCs, and advanced cell models: Advancing discovery from basic research to drug discovery

This webinar is brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

Organoids, iPSCs, and advanced cell models: Advancing discovery from basic research to drug discovery

01 April 2020

12:00 p.m. ET

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Various in vitro cell culture assays have been used for decades to evaluate disease pathology and uncover potential therapeutic treatments. Despite many successes with these models, they have critical shortcomings. Growing evidence suggests that models providing more predictive and translational observations are desperately needed. Researchers are now moving from reductionist, 2D monoculture assay models to more complex 3D cell models, such as organoids and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) cultures, in order to better evaluate the dynamic interactions between cells in an environment more closely emulating that of the in vivo milieu, and to assess patient-specific phenotypic effects following drug treatment. Effective, well-characterized, advanced cell models hold promise for improving our understanding of disease pathology and progression, and are critical for the identification of novel therapeutic targets.

During this roundtable webinar, the speakers will:

  • Discuss the importance of advanced models for development of novel treatments and personalized medicine
  • Provide updates on current applications in basic research for disease modeling and drug development
  • Explain challenges associated with using advanced cell models and some of the technologies and solutions available to address them
  • Answer viewer questions live during the broadcast.

This webinar will last for approximately 60 minutes.

Speaker bios

Salvatore Simmini, Ph.D.

STEMCELL Technologies
Cambridge, UK

Dr. Simmini is an R&D scientist in the gastrointestinal biology group at STEMCELL Technologies. His group focuses on developing products that support the generation of 3D gastrointestinal organoid cultures both from human primary tissue and human induced pluripotent stem cells. Prior to joining STEMCELL Technologies in 2016, he obtained his Ph.D. in stem cells, developmental biology, and cancer at the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands. During that time, he conducted research with the group of Jacqueline Deschamps at the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht, where he investigated the molecular mechanisms controlled by transcription factor CDX2 in adult mouse intestinal stem cells and during embryonic development. In 2015, he began postdoctoral research, joining the group of Jan Paul Medema and Louis Vermeulen at the Amsterdam Medical Centre in Amsterdam, where he investigated mechanisms regulating intestinal stem cell proliferation and differentiation in colorectal cancer. He is currently involved in several Horizon 2020 European Research Council projects in different roles: researcher within the INTENS (INtestinal Tissue ENgineering Solution) consortium; partner in the SINERGIA (Advanced technologieS for drug dIscovery and precisioN mEdicine: in vitRo modellinG human physiology and diseAse) project; and supervisor and member of the executive board of the Organovir-ETN (Organoids for Virus Research-European Training Network) grant.

Christine Hale, Ph.D.

Wellcome Sanger Institute
Cambridge, UK

As a staff scientist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Dr. Hale undertakes basic research projects into host─bacterial interactions while also teaching relevant skills to students and visiting scientists. Her projects include growing and differentiating human induced pluripotent stem cells to either a macrophage-like lineage or as intestinal 3D organoids, then utilizing them to investigate pathogen interactions. The main techniques used are flow cytometry, confocal imaging, high-throughput Cellomics assays, Luminex cytokine assays, and cell culture. The pathogens have varied over the years, but have included Salmonella, Klebsiella, enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), Chlamydia, and Leishmania.


Edward Avezov, Ph.D

UK Dementia Research Institute
Cambridge, UK

Dr. Avezov received his Ph.D. in cell research and immunology from the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences at Tel Aviv University in 2010. He conducted his postdoctoral work at the University of Cambridge Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science and the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research until 2017 with David Ron, FRS. Quantitative cell biology in the context of human disease has been at the core of Dr. Avezov’s research. Working at the interface of biomedical research, physics, and mathematical sciences, he developed the cross-disciplinary expertise for probing intracellular chemical and physical processes in real time. This enabled discoveries of unexpected features of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), such as an active ER luminal transport mechanism. These findings provide insights into the roles of the ER and its morpho-regulation in neuronal (patho)physiology. Dr. Avezov is currently a UK Dementia Research Institute Group Leader running an interdisciplinary program that seeks to understand early contributions of fundamental cellular processes ranging from ER transport to neurodegeneration.

Jackie Oberst, Ph.D.

Washington, DC

Dr. Oberst did her undergraduate training at the University of Maryland, College Park, and her Ph.D. in Tumor Biology at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. She combined her interests in science and writing by pursuing an M.A. in Journalism from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Oberst joined Science/AAAS in 2016 as the Assistant Editor for Custom Publishing. Before then she worked at Nature magazine, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Endocrine Society, and the National Institutes of Mental Health.

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