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Join ISSCR Connect to Hear About How Scientists are Using Stem Cells to Grow a Kidney in a Dish

10 April 2014
Join special ISSCR webcast to hear UQ's Melissa Little

Stem cell researchers from around the world are now using stem cells to create new ways to understand diseases and test possible new drugs. Join the live public webcast – ISSCR Connect – on Wednesday 16 April 2014 at 7am (AEST) to hear University of Queensland’s Professor Melissa Little discuss how stem cells are being used to build mini-kidneys in the lab to provide a window into kidney disease. You can also listen on demand to this webcast at a later date.

Over the past few decades, the rates of chronic kidney disease have risen due to conditions like diabetes, hypertension, immune-mediated disease and cardiovascular disease. Stem cell researchers are now using organoids, lab-grown models of human organs, to better understand kidney disease. In the future, organoids may also provide an important test model for experimental drugs.

Professor Melissa Little, from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at The University of Queensland, has been studying renal disease for more than 15 years and is currently using human embryonic stem cells to create tiny buds of tissue that resemble embryonic kidneys. She and her team hope to push the kidney organoids down the developmental pathway to fully functional organs, learning more about normal kidney function and development of disease on the way.

“Organoids are exciting because they allow us to mimic early human kidney development much better than mouse models,” Little said. “They allow us to replicate the types of mutations found in specific patients, which will eventually allow us to develop more personalized treatments. Kidney organoids may become models for testing whether experimental drugs are toxic to the human kidney, a critical step in the drug development process.”

During this free public webcast - Exploring Organoids: Growing a Kidney in a Dish - Professor Little will present an overview of current research and its potential, and will field questions from participants. The event will be available via the International Society for Stem Cell Research Connect Public Channel and interested members of the public are encouraged to register in advance - just follow the prompts to create an account on the ISSCR Public Channel to access the webcast. If you are uable to join the live webcast, it will be available on demand via the ISSCR Public Channel. There are a number of interesting presentation that are already available on this site including:

  • An Introduction to Endogenous Heart Repair
  • Disease Modeling with iPSCs: Disease in a Dish Explained
  • Modeling Early Human Brain Development in 3D Culture
  • Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms Regulating Adult Neurogenesis
  • Oversight of Stem Cell Treatments

If you would like to find out more, please visit the ISSCR Stem Cell in Focus website to read a blog - Ramping Up Discovery With Kidney Organoids – about Melissa Little's research.

Melissa Little is a Chief Investigator in the Stem Cells Australia initiative.