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EASL Basic School: Precision Cut Liver Slices and Liver Organoids – versatile ex-vivo models of liver disease

Many of the limitations of cellular and animal models of liver disease can be overcome by using human precision cut liver slices and liver organoid cultures. These cutting-edge 3D models can recapitulate the complex multi-cellular pathways involved in liver injury and disease progression. In this Basic EASL school, each participant will receive hands-on practical training in the preparation, culture and characterisation of precision cut liver slices. Each participant will also derive liver organoids from liver tissue and from induced pluripotent stem cells. We will train participants in small groups of 6 persons, allowing each delegate to perform these techniques individually. Further to this, each participant will walk away with the ability to induce steatosis, injury, inflammation, fibrosis and viral infection in the slices and the capability to perform microscopic evaluation of both slices and organoids. 

 In addition, multiple breakout sessions with interactive discussions will allow delegates to explore the full potential of these models to mimic in vivo disease pathways and their applicability for the pre-clinical evaluation of therapeutic agents. To prepare for the workshop, we will provide a course book as well as relevant literature. In addition, the participants will be asked to submit in advance a short abstract of their own research and potential use of the 3D experimental models to receive detailed project-specific feedback including practical tips to achieve their aims. In a ‘Speed’ networking event, delegates will also have the opportunity to discuss their projects further with the entire Faculty. 

Learning objectives

  • Prepare precision cut liver slices (PCLS) and culture them using static and microfluidic systems.
  • Derive, culture and expand organoid cultures from liver explants and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC).
  • Induce and characterise inflammation, alcoholic and non-alcoholic steatosis, fibrosis, drug-induced liver injury and viral infection in PCLS.
  • Perform viability and microscopic evaluations of PCLS and organoids.
  • Grasp the applicability, advantages and limitations of PCLS versus organoids as models of disease and as platforms for pre-clinical drug-testing.
  • Understand the regulatory processes and ethics application pathways to enable collection of surgical waste for discard.

Target audience

  • MD/PhD students/Post-doctoral fellows.
  • Trainees and Fellows performing basic translational research.
  • Hepatologists/Oncologists/Clinical and Translational Scientists.

Top 3 reasons to attend

  • Hands-on experience of preparing precision cut liver slices and learning how to monitor injury, inflammation, steatosis and viral infection during static and microfluidic culture.
  • Practical experience in liver organoid derivation, expansion and characterisation.
  • Development of projects utilising these cutting-edge 3D models and opportunity to discuss pitfalls and successful approaches with the Faculty.
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