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Organoids Are Us 2023 review

“Organoids Are Us 2023” (OrU 2023) was a one-day symposium held on Tuesday June 20th at the University of Queensland (UQ) St Lucia Campus, co-hosted by UQ and the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty), showcasing advances in organoid technology.

Over the last decade, organoids have transformed science and medicine. This was the fifth “OrU” symposium and the first one held interstate. As always for these symposia, there were talks on stem cells, cancer, and high through-put platforms with a focus on recent advances with complex organoid models and tissue engineering. The first keynote was delivered by A/Prof Silvia Velasco, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Parkville, Victoria on advances in pluripotent stem cell-derived brain organoids to model brain development and disease. Indeed, several talks and posters centred on “brain organoids”, including an invited talk delivered by Prof Ernst Wolvetang, co-director of the UQ Centre in Stem Cell Ageing and Regenerative Engineering, on brain organoids modelling disease, including COVID-19. The second keynote was delivered by Prof Hans Clevers, Hubrecht Institute, Netherlands who first described tissue-stem cell derived organoids in 2009; his talk encompassed “all-things” organoids, including modelling HBV infection in liver organoids. The 2024 “Tony Burgess Oration” was delivered by Prof Owen Sansom, Director of the Beatson Institute, Glasgow, Scotland, who has made seminal contributions to the stem cell and cancer fields, including demonstrating the roles of the tumour suppressor protein APC and the WNT signalling pathway in colon cancer, as well as the involvement of intestinal stem cells in tumourigenesis. Owen was introduced by Prof Hans Clevers, who paid tribute to Prof Tony Burgess, former director of the Ludwig, Melbourne Branch, and a true visionary. Tony conceived the idea for a VCCC (Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre) and established the Australian Living Organoid Alliance (ALOA).

On behalf of OrU 2023 co-convener Dr Nathan Godde, manager of the Australian Organoid Facility at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), UQ, huge thanks to our sponsors, the organising committee, speakers, chairpersons, attendees, and all involved at UQ. We had over 260 registrants, making it the most successful OrU symposium since the first one held in 2018.

“Organoids Are Us 2024” will be in Bangkok, Thailand – the first OrU symposium held overseas. Stay posted for updates!

Prof Elizabeth Vincan, OrU convener.

L to R: Abdou Hachani, Nathan Godde, Elizabeth Vincan

Prof Elizabeth Vincan

Poster session

A/Prof Silvia Velasco

Prof Nick Barker


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