Stem cells and organoids – what is the latest scientific research?

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Join Australia’s leading researchers for a free public event on 14 November that can answer all your questions about stem cells.

Can lab-grown eye tissue test gene therapies for blindness? Could models of muscle help us understanding heart problems?

  • Australian researchers are growing thousands of beating heart tissue clusters in the lab. These are used to find drug treatment for heart attack patients.
  • In Sydney, eye tissue grown from patient stem cells is helping in the development of treatments for inherited eye diseases.
  • Melbourne scientists developed a neural system combining 800,000 living brain cells, which was able to demonstrate intelligence-like behaviour by learning to play Pong!

Researchers call these models of organs made from stem cells ‘organoids’. They are paving the way for new or more targeted treatments for inherited eye diseases, brain disorders, certain types of cancer, and more.

Organoids, such as heart or kidney organoids, can be made from healthy stem cells and are used to study normal organ development or to test drugs in living, functional tissues.

‘Disease in a dish’ organoids recreate a condition in the lab. They are either grown from stem cells derived from patient biopsies or from stem cells engineered to have a specific gene defect. They’re shedding light on poorly understood diseases and helping to find and test new treatments.

You’ll hear from a panel of researchers and clinicians sharing their expertise on:

  • Lab-grown tumours for testing cancer treatments: Professor Helen Abud, Monash University
  • Blindness and deafness: Dr Anai Gonzalez Cordero, Children’s Medical Research Institute, Sydney.
  • Heart and muscle conditions: Dr Richard Mills, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, reNEW Melbourne.
  • Brain conditions: Associate Professor Silvia Velasco, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, reNEW Melbourne.
  • Ethical and legal implications of emerging technologies: Professor Di Nicol, University of Tasmania.

The forum will be hosted by National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia director and a leader in the societal implications of stem cell science and its clinical translation Professor Megan Munsie, from University of Melbourne, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and reNEW Melbourne.


Stem cells and organoids: gaining new insights into health and future therapies
In person and livestreamed
Tuesday 14 November 2023, 5.30 – 7pm AEDT
Australian National Maritime Museum, 2 Murray Street Sydney, NSW 2000.
Register now

Pre-event exhibition and science education opportunity

Doors open at 4.30pm with a captivating stem cell photography exhibition and roving early career scientists in the foyer. Students and the broader public can meet and mingle with junior investigators and find out about university courses and careers in science and biomedical research.

This event is hosted by the Australasian Society of Stem Cell Research and supported by the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia Foundation as part of their mission to provide community education. It is also proudly supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine, reNEW.