Coincidence or luck?
Visiting an hMDT workshop to 'mix-and-match'
A true story (by Yolande Ramos, LUMC)
It’s been almost a year ago when I first heard about hDMT. Immediately I got very enthusiastic: ‘this really is a fantastic initiative’, I thought. Organs-on-Chips had been around for a while already, but by facilitating the union between Life Sciences and Technology, hDMT offers a great opportunity to benefit from complementary expertise to further develop human disease models which could additionally contribute to decreasing the number of animal experiments! Since then, I started checking the hDMT website from time to time to follow their activities.
Somewhere in September if I remember well, a Sunday evening while scanning the web for news and stuff I stumbled across the triple upcoming workshops organized by hDMT in, respectively, Twente, Delft, and Eindhoven. Was it coincidence or luck? In any case, the first workshop took place that same week so on Monday I checked whether it was still possible to participate and rearranged the schedule of my experiments to make it fit.
Friday morning. I got in the train from Amsterdam to Twente. Quite a trip. But it turned out to be more than worth it. The program was very diverse and inspiring. After an introduction by Andries van der Meer (University of Twente), all participants, including representatives from several life science companies presented shortly what they could offer or what they were looking for. Subsequently, in small groups mixing variety of expertise’s, potential collaborations and initiatives could be discussed which were to be presented afterwards. It called my attention that there appeared to be two main groups: those looking for technical tools/devices to be able to improve their biological models towards 3D in vivo systems (organs on chips), and those developing technology, yet without particular biological application. My stand was the first: looking for advanced technology to optimize my cell models.
Almost towards the end of the day, with lots of new ideas but still without a concrete project idea, while passing by in discussion with other participants Hossein Eslami Amirabadi (TU Eindhoven), mentions: ‘I think I have something to offer to you. We need to talk later!’. Indeed, his idea got roots: we wrote a proposal for a pilot together which was granted. You may call it coincidence, that Sunday evening stumbling across the hDMT workshops. I call it luck!