Upcoming WU Symposium Brings Together Researchers Interested in Organoid Culture

Ben Humphreys will speak at the Organoid &Tissue Models of Human Disease symposium

Benjamin Humphreys, MD, PhD, Joseph Friedman Professor of Renal Diseases in Medicine and Chief, Division of Nephrology, will be one of the speakers at the Organoid & Tissue Models of Human Diseases symposium to be held May 7, 2019, 9 am – 1:30 pm, at the Eric P Newman Educational Center, Seminar Room B.

“The goal of this symposium is to be a cross-disciplinary event to bring together researchers across the university who are using or interested in organoid culture techniques,” says Ron Bose, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Oncology, who co-organized the symposium with Matthew Ciorba, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Gastroenterology.

Organoids are 3-dimensional clusters of cells grown in the laboratory to mimic an organ or specific tissues.

Ron Bose, co-organizer of the symposium

“Organoid culture enables the culturing of human cells in ways that are not possible with convenient cell culture methods,” says Bose, who studies oncogenic mutations using breast cancer organoids.  “Multiple labs across the medical center are using organoid culture to grow different tissues and study a wide range of human diseases.  Dr. Humphreys’ lab is growing mini-kidneys in culture and this has exciting potential for regenerative medicine.”

Humphreys’ lecture is titled Improving kidney organoid models of development and repair using scRNA-seq.  Researchers from the Humphreys laboratory were the first to compare two commonly used differentiation protocols to grow kidney organoids from two separate human pluripotent stem cell lines.  They showed that protocols used to grow the kidney organoids can be modified to produce more kidney-specific cells and less “off-target” contaminating cells.  See more on their 2018 publication in Cell Stem Cell here.

The symposium will open with welcoming remarks by Nick Davidson, MD, Chief, Division of Gastroenterology.  In addition to Dr. Humphreys, other speakers from Washington University will include Blair Madison, PhD, Gastroenterology, Thaddeus Stappenbeck, MD, PhD, Pathology and Immunology, and Jeffrey Millman, PhD, Endocrinology, Metabolism and Lipid Research.

Invited guest speakers are Bryan Welm, PhD, from the Department of Surgery at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, and Elizabeth Wiellette, PhD, from Draper Laboratory Inc. in Cambridge, MA.

The symposium is an open event; no registration is needed.  Lunch will be provided.  For more information, contact Terrie Stald at 314-747-3096; tstald@wustl.edu.

Read more about Dr. Humphreys’ research here and follow him @HumphreysLab on Twitter.