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Celebrating the first lustrum of hDMT with its researchers at the annual hDMT Consortium Meeting

Wednesday, 15 April

The fourth annual hDMT Consortium Meeting took place on Friday February 14, 2020, again at the English Meeting Center in Rotterdam. The meeting illustrated the enthusiastic interdisciplinary interactions that characterize hDMT. Junior and senior researchers mingled in an open and cordial atmosphere.

The hDMT Consortium Meetings have become an anchor point in the activities of hDMT, this year with more than 130 participants from all theme groups. The meeting was excellently chaired by Evita van de Steeg of TNO. The program reflected the maturation of the Organ-on-Chip field with a wider spectrum of tissues and chip functionalities and, most importantly, the models now indeed integrate biology and engineering.

The program presented Organ-on-Chip models of more than ten different tissues and combinations thereof, ranging from lung and gut to eye, cartilage and cancer. The chip models showed increasing advances in their designs, including improved 3D and barrier tissue architectures, stimulations ranging from (electro) mechanical and chemical to microbiome interactions, and advanced readout systems to study fibrosis, thrombosis and drug responses. The TOP platform developed at the University of Twente focuses on the integration of functionalities in a modular design platform that enables higher throughput, reproducibility and fabrication.

Once again the floor was primarily for junior researchers to present their work in 17 research highlights, including reports on the 2018 and 2019 hDMT Junior Organ-on-Chip Awards by Margo Teurlings (LUMC & TU Eindhoven)) and Mees de Graaf (UTwente & LUMC), and an invited highlight by Berend van Meer (LUMC / UTwente) on a successful application in heart disease. The presentations gave insight into the problems that arise when developing accurate Organ-on-Chip models. The high quality of the research was impressive and encouraging - the Organ-on-Chip field is evolving rapidly. There were also four keynote lectures on the technology and application of Organ-on-Chip models and an eye-opening lecture by Sabeth Verpoorte on the obstacles to be overcome in interdisciplinary collaborations.

If anything, there was too much to present and the next consortium meeting faces the luxury problem of giving space to all the exciting developments within hDMT. The field is constantly evolving and hDMT expands its networks in Europe and beyond - traditionally presented by managing director Janny van den Eijnden - van Raaij. The friendly and lively atmosphere during the breaks and the drinks afterwards nicely illustrated the sense of community that stems from 5 years hDMT. The bubble toast topped off a great day.

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