Monday, 14 October 2019

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Title to be Confirmed.
Kennedy Okeyo, Senior Lecturer, Institute for Frontier Life and Medical Sciences, Kyoto University, Japan

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Versatile Synthetic Substrates For Cellular Assay Development and 3D Organoid Culture and Screening
Connie Lebakken, Chief Operating Officer, Stem Pharm, Inc., United States of America

Stem Pharm Inc. has developed a synthetic hydrogel platform that allows the design and optimization of substrates for cell expansion, differentiation and screening applications including 3D cell culture and organoid models. Through control of the substrate mechanical properties and adhesion ligand presentation, and utilizing chemistries that maintain cellular health and function, we provide cell-specific biomaterials for advanced cellular assay platforms and specialized cell expansion and differentiation applications.

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Terry RissConference Chair

Title to be Confirmed.
Terry Riss, Global Strategic Marketing Manager Cell Health, Promega Corporation, United States of America

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Applications of Brain-Model Technology to Study Neuro-developmental Disorders
Cleber Trujillo, Project Scientist, University of California San Diego, United States of America

The complexity of the human brain permits the development of sophisticated behavioral repertoires, such as language, tool use, self-awareness, and consciousness. Understanding what produces neuronal diversification during brain development has been a longstanding challenge for neuroscientists and may bring insights into the evolution of human cognition. We have been using stem cell-derived brain model technology to gain insights into several biological processes, such as human neurodevelopment and autism spectrum disorders. The reconstruction of human synchronized network activity in a dish can help to understand how neural network oscillations might contribute to the social brain. Here, we developed cortical organoids that exhibit low-frequency network-synchronized oscillations. Periodic and highly regularized oscillatory network events emerged after 4 months, followed by a transition to irregular and spatiotemporally complex activity by 8 months, mimicking features of late-stage preterm infant electroencephalography. Furthermore, we found that the Methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) is essential for the emergence of network oscillations, suggesting that functional maturation might be compromised at early stages of neurodevelopment in MECP2-related disorders, such as Rett syndrome, autism, and schizophrenia. As evidence of potential network maturation, oscillatory activity subsequently transitioned to more spatiotemporally irregular patterns, capturing features observed in preterm human electroencephalography (EEG). These results show that the development of structured network activity in the human neocortex may follow stable genetic programming, even in the absence of external or subcortical inputs. Our model provides novel opportunities for investigating and manipulating the role of network activity in the developing human cortex.

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Application of Brain Model Technology
Alysson Muotri, Professor, Director of the Stem Cell Program, University of California-San Diego, United States of America

Brain organoids, generated from stem cells, have created opportunities to study morphological and molecular aspects of human neurodevelopment However, it is unclear if these organoids could generate sophisticated network activity. The Muotri lab has generated brain organoids with oscillatory waves similar to fetal stages of human development. Implications for human disease and brain evolution will be discussed.