JAN 30, 2020 9:00 AM PST

An Automated Cancer Organoid Culture Platform to Accelerate Research and Drug Screening

  • PhD Candidate at University of Chicago
      Brooke completed a BS in Integrative Biology Honors and Chemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2014, graduating with high distinction and honors. During her undergraduate career, Brooke's first experience with cell culture was working with equine (horse) stem cells at University of Illinois School of Veterinary Medicine. She even assisted the veterinarians in the tissue and cell collection process. Through this research, she developed her undergraduate honors thesis examining the molecular mechanisms behind osteogenic differentiation for regenerative medicinal applications, leading to her first research publication in Tissue Engineering. Brooke finished her undergraduate career as a member of Dr. Marty Burke's research group, a chemical biology-focused laboratory, and studied the use of certain small molecules as potential synthetic membrane transporters in the context of cystic fibrosis.

      After graduation, Brooke spent time away from academia and worked two years in the medical field, primarily as a clinical research assistant for a medical device start-up company. She traveled the country working with various physicians and medical staff overseeing one of the largest clinical trials for cervical cancer.

      In Fall 2016, Brooke began graduate school as a PhD candidate at The University of Chicago. Soon after, she joined the multidisciplinary team in Savas Tay's laboratory in The University of Chicago's Institute of Molecular Engineering. Brooke's project focused on the development of a microfluidic-based 3D cell culture platform, such as patient-derived cancer organoids, with automated and high-throughput capabilities. She continues to use and develop this integrated platform in hopes to advance the capabilities of research on cancer organoid models, screen and mirror real-life patient chemotherapy treatments and, ultimately, one day facilitate treatment decisions for the development of personalized cancer therapies.

    DATE:  January 30, 2020
    TIME:   9:00am PST, 12:00pm EST
    Recent advances in in vitro 3D cellular culture technologies, such as organoids, rapidly developed and established novel, more physiologically relevant models for basic biology and clinical applications. Traditionally, high-throughput microfluidics and other similar technologies have relied on two-dimensional (2D) cell models for the study of various human conditions and diseases, yet they are not compatible with 3D culture. I will discuss the development of an automatic and dynamic microfluidic ex vivo organoid culture modeling system to facilitate and accelerate preclinical research and the development of personalized treatment strategies. This integrated platform combines microfluidics, automatic dynamic and temporal stimulations (ie combinatorial drug screenings), combined with in silico data analysis and prediction tools. The platform can be used to advance the capabilities of research on cancer organoids models, screen and mirror real life patient chemotherapy treatments and ultimately facilitate treatment decisions for the development of personalized therapies.
    Learning Objectives:
    • Understand the difference between traditional and microfluidic based cell culture technologies
    • Learn about applying biomedical engineering techniques to advance current 3D cell culture technologies, specifically cancer organoid culture systems 
    • Discover the potential application and capabilities of automatic, high throughput, and dynamic cell culture platforms  
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