IMBA Celebrates the Long Night of Research

The Future of Biology on View at the Austrian Academy of Sciences

As part of a nationwide event to promote science to the public, on the 20th of May, plant models and organoids made an appearance at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW). The Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) organized showcases and presentations as one of over 280 exhibition participants across Austria. Visitors met the scientists behind IMBA, who use various experimental systems to make discoveries about basic life processes.

IMBA summarized the journey from stem cells to organoids across formal presentations and interactive showcases. Marie-Christin Leitner (PhD student) and Natalie Sepke (Master's student) gave two presentations on the stage that focused on brain, heart, and blood vessel organoids. Audience members learned how researchers are using in vitro techniques to grow and study populations of cells that have some of the same properties as organs.

Meanwhile, in the event space, visitors engaged with scientists to learn about organoid research as an approach to understanding tissue development and genetic disorders. In a space arranged with microscopes and displays, visitors explored lines of stem cells and samples of blood vessel, heart, and brain organoids. Stem cells are a starting point of organoid cultures, and colonies of induced pluripotent human stem cells are obtained by reprogramming skin- or blood cells of patients back to a pluripotent state. These types of stem cells can be redirected into any type of cell – in this case, to grow organoids. Visitors learned about the general characteristics and morphology of organoids as well as how researchers use them in basic and therapeutic research.

Participating Researchers