EOS2019 – a good reason to go to Milan

The European Organoids Symposium 2019 is now over, and the LSFM4LIFE scientists who were in Milan to present their work at the congress center of the Fondazione Cariplo and to discuss their latest results over a cup of Italian coffee are back home again.

It was a very dense meeting, starting with a pre-conference dinner on Sunday night and ending after two long days full of talks and poster presentations on Tuesday evening.

Francesco Pampaloni welcoming the EOS2019 participants

All seven scientific project partners contributed to a special session on human pancreas organoids and diabetes, which started the symposium on Monday morning.

The afternoon began with Madeline Lancaster’s (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge) keynote lecture on recent advances in brain organoid technologies and their applications to human biology, and the audience was particularly impressed by her studies of the secretion and barrier functions of the choroid plexus.

The two other speakers in this session were Rami Aqeilan (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), with a talk entitled “Epilepsy in a dish: modeling WWOX-related neurological disorders by patient-derived cerebral organoids”, and Elena Cattaneo (University of Milan), who is using 3D organoid cultures to study Huntington’s Disease.

This was followed by a session with six talks given by selected speakers who submitted abstracts. Two of them were given a 500-Euro award for their outstanding presentations: Marion Flum (University of Freiburg), who discussed alterations in colorectal cancer pathways and tumor cell invasion, and Victor Tiroille (Inserm/Université Côte d’Azur, Nice), who described UBTD1 with respect to its role in prostate neuroendocrine carcinoma. Congratulations to both of them!

Lorenza Lazzari and Marion Flum
Lorenza Lazzari and Victor Tiroille

After this first day, all participants met at Just Cavalli, one of the trendy clubs in Milan. As it is located at the foot of the Torre Branca in the Parco Sempione, invited guests had the opportunity to view Milan by night from 100 m above the ground.

The second day started with the keynote lecture by Sylvia F. Boj (Foundation Hubrecht Organoid Technology, Utrecht), who showed great videos and pictures describing her work using organoids as a tool for the study of cancer and cystic fibrosis.

Sylvia F. Boj giving her keynote lecture at EOS2019

This was followed by a technology showcase featuring the four gold sponsors of the meeting: STEMCELL Technologies, Rigenerand, Kugelmeiers and BioLamina.

The two other sessions of that day were dedicated to human epithelial organoids (with talks by Nicole Prior [Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge], Margherita Yayoi Turco [University of Cambridge], Massimiliano Pagani [Università degli Studi di Milano and Istituto Nazionale di Genetica Molecolare, Milan] and Emma Rawlins [Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge]) and organoids and cancer (with presentations by Marc van de Wetering [Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Utrecht] and Daniel Stange [University Hospital Dresden]).

And it is Marc van de Wetering who gets the prize for the most exotic organoids: snake venom gland organoids for harvesting toxins for antidotes.