Impression of a successful third International Organ-On-Chip Symposium IOOCS18 in Eindhoven

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Over 180 participants from 12 different countries joined the third International Organ-on-Chip Symposium (IOOCS18) held in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, on 8 and 9 November 2018. This year IOOCS18 was organized by NOCI, TU/e and hDMT. No less than 55 posters of high quality were presented which ensured lively discussions between the participants.

Participants of the IOOCS18 conference in Eindhoven


Six keynote speakers presented their latest views on different topics, ranging from complex microfluidic systems and computational models to human avatars and disease-on-chip models.

Shuichi Takayama (professor of Biomedical Engineering, United States) started with a nice overview of the microfluidic systems that are developed to control cell microenvironments. Cisca Wijmenga (professor of Human Genetics, the Netherlands) explained how to use the knowledge of the past 20 years about celiac disease pathogenesis in building a celiac mucosal barrier-on-chip model for studies on barrier integrity and immune response. Roeland Merks (professor of Mathematical Biology, the Netherlands) introduced the strength of in silico modeling to predict changes in cell shape and cell behavior during angiogenesis.

Roeland Merks, Adrian Ionescu and Shuichi Takayama

Robert Barrett (assistant professor of Medicine, United States) introduced a new model for understanding inflammatory bowel disease, making use of iPSC-derived human intestinal organoids. Cecilia Sahlgren (professor of Cell Biology, Finland) described the interplay between the oncogenic Notch pathway and the tumor microenvironment and how cancer-on-chip approaches can help to understand the underlying mechanisms. Adrian Ionescu (professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland )highlighted the value of omics, smart sensors, nanomedicine, advanced imaging and body-on-chip to generate data for personalized human avatars, that will result in a paradigm change in healthcare.

Robert Barrett, Cecilia Sahlgren and Cisca Wijmenga

Young talents

Twelve young talents from academia and three scientists from commercial organizations gave inspiring talks about their research. During the first young talent session the topics varied from models for brain and lung vasculature, cancer stem cell migration, impaired barrier function by sepsis, and angiogenic sprouting to improvement of the Cytostretch device. The second young talent session focused on technical topics, including optical sensors for cardiac models, a centrifugal heart-on-chip platform and a 10-organ platform, but also on models for stroke, adenoviral retargeting models and personalized blood-brain-barrier models for development of new drugs.

During the commercial session high-throughput models for nephrotoxicity and inflammatory bowel disease were presented, and an assay for quantitative measurement of signal transduction pathways.

All together this was a very good mix of the large knowledge and expertise that is available in the Organ-on-Chip field. Besides the science, the focus was on interaction and connection with other researchers from knowledge institutes and companies involved in Organ-on-Chip technology development. The spirit of IOOCS18 with the enthusiasm, the willingness to share results, ideas and expertise in a good atmosphere full of energy, ambition and friendship certainly will move the Organ-on-Chip field forward!

Animated discussions during the poster session, coffee breaks and lunch.

A new society is born!

A special moment during IOOCS18 was the launch of the European Organ-on-Chip Society (EUROoCS). Christine Mummery, chair of the new Society, initiated the launch ceremony, which subtly referred to the annual light festival in Eindhoven, site of the launch, and the classical light bulb developed there a century ago. "It is a European Society but everyone worldwide is welcome to join. We are just at the early start, and there is much work to be done before we are operational and everybody can sign in. But we look forward to being the forum for this research in Europe and we are here to stay," Janny van den Eijnden-van Raaij of hDMT says, among the first Board members of EUROoCS. EUROoCS is one of the first outcomes of the ORCHID project (Organ-on-Chip In Development), that aims to create a roadmap for Organ-on-Chip technology and to build a network of all parties involved. This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 766884.

First Board of EUROoCS (from left to right)
Peter Loskill (vice-chair, Fraunhofer IGB), Albert van den Berg (University of Twente), Christine Mummery (chair, LUMC) and Janny van den Eijnden-van Raaij (secretary/treasurer, hDMT)

ORCHID interim roadmap report

The ORCHID team was proud to present the first interim roadmap report entitled: 'Organ-on-Chip in Development: Towards a European roadmap for Organ-on-Chip'. This report surveys the current landscape in the research, development, applications and market opportunities for Organ-on-Chip devices to establish the pillars of a European OoC ecosystem.

Based on a bibliometric study, a market analysis, expert interviews, and panel discussions held at the ORCHID Vision Workshop (Stuttgart, 23 May 2018), this report outlines presently unmet needs, key challenges, barriers and perspectives of the field, and finally proposes recommendations towards the definition of a European roadmap that could render OoC systems (OoCs) realistic models of human (patho)physiology in the near future.

For a PDF of the report click here.

Best Poster Award IOOCS18

This year Best Poster Award was won by Soheila Zeinali from the Organs-on-Chip technologies Laboratory at the ARTORG Center, University of Bern (Switzerland). Soheila presented her poster entitled 'Role of Rhythmic Breathing Motions on in vitro Pulmonary Vascular Remodeling'. In this study a dynamic microvasculature platform was developed to investigate the effect of 3D cyclic stretch from the rhythmic breathing on human microvascular remodeling.

Jury members selecting the winner Soheila Zeinali and her winning poster presentation

Meet the expert lunch

At the end of the symposium young scientists who signed up for a Meet the Expert lunch had the possibility to ask the keynote speakers what they always wanted to know about their research. In the 'Black Box' at the University Campus they discussed about Organs-on-Chips and more in an informal atmosphere.

Young talents and keynote speakers meet during an informal lunch.

Lab tours

After the closing lunch of the symposium, around 50 participants joined the lab tour to the TU/e Microfab/lab. This is a state-of-the-art microfabrication facility that houses a diversity of combined fabrication techniques needed to create microfluidic devices, and in particular for Organ-on-Chip applications. The techniques range from laser machining, 3D printing, mechanical machining, photolithography, soft lithography, thin film processing, to ink-jet printing. The facility includes a bio-lab, in which cell culture experiments can be performed. The tour included also three demos by PhD students and postdocs of the den Toonder research group:

  • PhD student Andreas Pollet demonstrated his home-built "sugar printer", capable of printing three-dimensional branched networks, to create microvascular networks on a chip;
  • PhD student Shuaizhong Zhang and postdoc Tanveer Ul Islam showed their "artificial cilia"; microscopic hair-like magnetic microactuators, capable of pumping liquids and transporting microparticles in microfluidic devices.
  • Postdoc Jean-Philippe Frimat explained his Brain-on-Chip research, and showed that he can create organized functional networks of neurons that can be used to learn more about the (dys)functioning of the brain.

View at the Microfab/lab of Eindhoven University of Technology

From IOOCS18 to EUROoCS conference in Graz

Next year the International Organ-on-Chip Symposium will take place at Graz on 2 and 3 July 2019, under the flag of EUROoCS. Everybody is welcome to join!


Look here for a photo impression of the symposium.

You can download the booklet with the program, lecture and poster abstracts here.

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