BAR HARBOR, MAINE — The MDI Biological Laboratory has announced that it has received more than $30,000 in cash and in-kind awards in support of its second annual “Applications of Organoid Technology” course, to be held May 26 through June 1 at the institution’s Bar Harbor campus.
The awards include contributions from Baker, Bio-Techne, Biological Industries, Corning, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Fisher Scientific, Greiner Bio-One, Leica Microsystems, Nikon, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., STEMCELL Technologies, ThermoFisher Scientific and Vertex.
The week-long biomedical innovation course is among the first to provide extensive hands-on training in organoid culture, course director Hugo de Jonge, Ph.D., a professor at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, has said. De Jonge has been a visiting scientist at the MDI Biological Laboratory since 2008.
The course is offered in partnership with Hubrecht Organoid Technology (The HUB), a non-profit organization based in Utrecht, Netherlands. The HUB was founded to implement the pioneering work of Hans Clevers, M.D., Ph.D., who discovered methods to grow the stem cell-derived three dimensional mini-organs from patient tissues.
“Organoids have applications in basic research, drug discovery and regenerative medicine,” said Jane E. Disney, Ph.D., director of education at the MDI Biological Laboratory. “By offering in-depth training in organoid culture, we are accelerating the adoption of an emerging technology that offers huge potential for human health.”
The course attracts advanced graduate students, post-doctoral trainees and researchers from universities, medical schools, research institutions and technology companies interested in using organoids to study disease, for pre-clinical drug development and to predict a patient’s reaction to a drug or drug combination.
The course will use cultures from the Living Biobank at The HUB, including organoids from patients with cystic fibrosis and cancer. The students will also develop their own organoids from mouse cells. A 2019 addition will be a module on kidney organoids led by Lief Oxburgh, D.V.M., Ph.D., of the Maine Medical Center Research Institute.
“We would like to make organoid technology available to everyone,” course director Sylvia F. Boj, Ph.D., scientific director at The HUB, has said. “But it is easier learned from training than from a lab protocol. The good news is that once participants have mastered the technique, their knowledge can benefit their entire home institutions.”
Organoids grown from organ-specific adult stem cells, which is what are used in the course, maintain the genetic make-up and properties of the patient’s diseased tissue. They provide a platform for investigation that is truer to the disease than conventional two-dimensional cell cultures, but simpler than working with a patient.
The course grew out of research by de Jonge on cystic fibrosis in organoids derived from biopsies of human intestinal tissue. De Jonge was drawn to the use of organoids as a substitute for cells from the dogfish shark, which he had formerly used to study the disease. Another benefit of organoids is that they can replace animal models.
For inquiries about the course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the MDI Biological Laboratory
We are pioneering new approaches to regenerative medicine focused on developing drugs that slow age-related degenerative diseases and activate our natural ability to heal. Our unique approach has identified potential therapies that could revolutionize the treatment of heart disease, muscular dystrophy and more. Through the Maine Center for Biomedical Innovation we are preparing students for 21st century careers and equipping entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills and resources needed to turn discoveries into applications that improve human health and well-being. For more information, please visit mdibl.org.
Photo caption: A highly magnified image of a kidney organoid generated from stem cells. Participants in the MDI Biological Laboratory’s “Applications of Organoid Technology” course will use such organoids to study kidney disease. Photo credit: Leif Oxburgh Laboratory at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute.