September 30, 2021

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EUROoCS Awards

During the closing ceremony of the EUROoCS 2021 conference seven prizes were awarded:

-Best Presentation Award (40 presentations in total)
-Best Junior Presentation Award
-Best Poster Award (130 posters in total)
-EUROoCS 2022 Travel Award (3x)
-Exhibitor Quiz Award

The presentation awards were elected by a jury of 21 experts chaired by Erika Györvary (CSEM, Switzerland), José Tarazona (EFSA) with support from Maryam Shojaee (Uppsala University, Sweden).

Congratulations to the following awardees:

Best Presentation Award
The Best Presentation Award (€ 500), sponsored by Nortis (USA) was awarded to Ulgu Arslan (Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands) for her talk ‘ Vascularized three-dimensional cardiac microtissue-on-chip’. hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes, endo-thelial cells and cardiac fibroblasts were integrated into 3D scaffold-free cardiac microtissues, which displayed well organized microvasculature network. These 3D cardiac microtissues were next integrated into a microfluidic chip with an external network formed by hiPSC-derived endothelial cells and primary human brain vascular pericytes. A promising approach for further maturation of the tissue via optimal nutrient delivery and for controlled drug delivery. Ulgu is from the group of Valeria Orlova in Leiden and is a PhD student in the EU ITN Network coordinated by Peter Loskill.

Best Junior Presentation Award
Tengku Ibrahim Maulana (University of Tübingen, Germany) received the Best Junior Presentation Award (€500), sponsored by InSphero, for his talk ‘Breast-cancer-on-chips recapitulating tumor-microenvironment interaction applicable for CAR-T cell testing’. Two human breast-cancer-on-chip models were developed, that mimic different aspects of the tumor microenvironment (TME) to study impact of breast TME to cancer growth and immunotherapy. These models have the potential to unravel the impact of adipose tissue state on the efficacy of CAR-T cell immunotherapy.

Best Poster Award
The Best Poster Award (€500), sponsored by Emulate was granted to Lea Lara de Maddalena (Alveolix, Switzerland) for her poster entitled ‘Pulmonary fibrosis-on-chip: A tool for drug efficacy testing with the example of Nintedanib’. An in vitro alveolar model has been developed, mimicking some features of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). The effects of mediators of fibrogenesis (TGFß) and inhibitors of fibrosis (Nintedanib) on barrier disruption, cell cytotoxicity and gene expression of fibrotic markers were studied. The model might be a valuable tool for investigating new biomarkers and for efficacy studies of new antifibrotic drugs.

EUROoCS 2022 Travel Awards

Award 1:
The EUROoCS 2022 Travel Award (€500) sponsored by Roche went to Milica Dostanić (Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands) for the presentation of her work on ‘An engineered heart tissue platform with integrated pacing microelectrodes’. Electric pacing was incorporated into a miniature engineered heart tissue platform by means of microfabricated electrodes, enabling ultimate accuracy and precision in controlled in situ tissue stimulation. The suitability of the integrated microelectrodes to replace external pacing electrodes, and the biocompatibility of the overall platform were shown. The system was pre-configured to fit a 96-well plate format to enable forthcoming high-throughput biological assays. Milica is a PhD student of Massimo Mastrangeli in the Netherlands Organ-on-Chip Initiative (NOCI) sponsored by NWO/OCW and coordinated by Christine Mummery.

Award 2:
The second EUROoCS 2022 Travel award (€250), also sponsored by Roche was granted to Marina Pérez-Aliacar (University of Zaragoza, Spain) for the presentation of her poster about ‘Intelligent Microfluidics: using deep learning to predict model parameters from glioblastoma-on-a-chip images’. In this work, the power of deep learning and microfluidics was combined to present a novel methodology for parameter identification from culture images using Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN). This methodology may be seen as a first step towards patient-specific models in which the particular parameters defining the tumor behavior can be predicted and used to make clinical decisions.

Award 3:
Inês Sousa-Pereira (IBEC, Spain) received the third EUROoCS 2022 Travel Award (€250), sponsored by EUROoCS for her poster on ‘Biomimetic material for neuronal culture’. New hydrogels were presented, that resulted in higher viability rates in neuronal proliferation and differentiation, projection growth, increased connectivity and neuronal markers expression. These hydrogels are promising scaffolds for brain modelling, applicable to 3D long-term culture and differentiation of cells, such as iPSC-derived neurons.

Exhibitor Quiz Award
Claire Dessalles (LadHyX Ecole Polytechnique, France) received the Exhibitor Quiz Award (€100), a bonus prize sponsored by EUROoCS, for the best score in the Q&A competition about the exhibitor booths of the sponsors.

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