MDIBL course receives in-kind support

BAR HARBOR — The MDI Biological Laboratory (MDIBL) has received more than $30,000 in cash and in-kind awards in support of its second annual “Applications of Organoid Technology” course, scheduled to be held May 26-June 1.

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, a professor at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, 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 Dr. Hans Clevers, 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 Disney, director of education at MDIBL. “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 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. Organoids grown from organ-specific adult stem cells, which are what is 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.

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