Game-changer in life science research

*link to the replay is at the bottom of this article.

On World Organoid Research Day (WORD) 2023, a gathering organized by Organoid Spheroid, researchers from all over the world gathered to celebrate the latest developments in 3D organoid research. At this event, over 40 researchers were invited to talk about their research on organoid technology. One of the speakers is none other than our coordinator, Dasja Pajkrt.

Human organoid models for virus research

“As a Pediatrician, I see many children being affected by viral diseases. For a long time, this has been my drive to learn about viruses and how they infect humans” Dasja said as she opened her talk at WORD 2023. Aside from treating children at the Emma Kinderziekenhuis (Emma Children’s Hospital), Dasja coordinates our consortium and the research group OrganoVIR Labs, where part of our research is carried out.

At OrganoVIR Labs, Dasja co-leads the research on human picornaviruses, CMV and SARS-CoV2 using human organoids. A human organoid is a miniature and simplified version of a human organ. An organoid contains the DNA of its donor, which means that it carries the personal characteristics of that donor including genetic make-up, age and gender.

Data collected from research at OrganoVIR Labs have shown that results obtained with human organoids translate well to human diseases. Compared to animal models or conventional 2D cell cultures, human organoids provide more accurate information on how viruses infect human cells.

For instance, by using a human fetal intestinal cell culture mode to evaluate the protective ability of human milk against SARS-CoV-2, data showed that human milk blocks SARS-CoV-2 replication irrespective of the presence of SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific antibodies. Another example of using human organoids in virus research includes using apical-out airway organoids to study infection of respiratory viruses such as Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68).

Shaping the future of life science research

So, we know that human organoids have already been established and that they translate well to human diseases – what is the next step? Within GUTVIBRATIONS, 7 partners in academia and industry are working together to develop the next-generation gut-brain axis organ-on-chip.

This technology is a new model that is user-friendly, affordable and most importantly, will be able to simulate human organs. The organ-on-chip will include the gut mucosa, blood-brain-barrier and human brain organoid.

“With gut-brain axis organ-on-chip, we can better understand human diseases that are caused by human viruses” said Dasja, as she closed her sessions at WORD 2023.

Would you like to watch Dasja’s talk? Click here: