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Organ-on-a-chip technology in the spotlight at this year’s BioMedEng19

Presenters from the five sabbatical projects funded by the OOACT Network
Presenters from the five sabbatical projects funded by the OOACT Network

The Organ-on-a-Chip Technologies Network partnered Imperial College London to run a one day organ-on-a-chip session at this year’s BioMedEng19 held on 5 September.  BioMedEng is the largest UK gathering of engineers working across medicine and biosciences, providing an excellent opportunity for people to hear about the Network’s achievements to date, and to discover ways to get involved.  

The Network’s first year has been very productive. With membership heading towards 600, the session attracted a large number of delegates, demonstrating the keen interest across academia and industry in organ-on-a-chip technologies.  

The day’s activities included the following range of presentations from Network members:

  • illuminating research updates from the first five Organ-on-a-Chip Technologies Network funded projects
  • motivating introductions from the recently established Review Groups and Special Interest Groups, the latter including Commercially available OOAC platforms by Malcolm Haddrick, Medicines Discovery Catapult;  Brain on a chip by Paul Holloway, University of Oxford; Label free real-time monitoring – translation to OOAC model by Pierre Bagnaninchi, University of Edinburgh; and patient involvement in OOACT by Blerina Ahmetaj, Imperial College London
  • an exciting organ-on-a-chip public engagement project led by Paul Holloway, selected for Science Museum Lates in January 2020. 

Delegates also had an opportunity in the afternoon to find out more and get involved in helping to drive forward the work of the Special Interest and Review Groups during round table talks.  

Network Special Interest Group lead, Pierre Bagnaninchi from University of Edinburgh said: “It was great to be able to meet other group members face to face and encourage new people, interested in Label free monitoring in OOACT, to join us. The Network provides a great way to connect people with a wide range of expertise across this field so we can establish end user expectations, identify the challenges and work together to find solutions.” 

Fran Balkwill, Professor of Cancer Biology, QMUL, provided the keynote speech on recreating the human tumour microenvironment for the session on organ-on-a-chip and artificial organs. The day was completed with an industry focused plenary from David Hughes, CN Bio Innovation. This session was chaired by the Network’s director, Hazel Screen, who was delighted with how the day went: “It was wonderful to see the level of interest and enthusiasm in network activity from both our members and the wider BioMedEng delegates, and exciting to hear about how network funding has facilitated a number of achievements in organ-on-a-chip research.  David’s keynote talk was inspirational and a great way to end a very productive day, demonstrating what fantastic science multidisciplinary team work can deliver.”

 

The network is part of a major new Research Councils UK (RCUK) venture called Technology Touching Life [1] involving joint research council funding, which aims to foster interdisciplinary research into innovative technology in the health and life sciences.

If you are interested to find out more about the network, please visit our website www.organonachip.org.uk

https://www.ukri.org/research/cross-organisational-themes-and-programmes/technology-touching-life/

News date: 24 September 2019

Updated by: David Lockwood

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