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Organoids as a model for studying pathogen infection including SARS-CoV-2

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Organoids are becoming a powerful tool for studying tissue-specific host-pathogen interactions, including SARS-CoV-2. Organoid procedures are able to transform aggregates of progenitor cells into three-dimensional cell culture versions of multiple human organs.

The role of human intestinal epithelial cells (hIECs) in the pathogenesis of enteric viral infections is not well understood. Although organoids are a powerful tool for studying how individual cell types present in the human intestinal epithelium respond and combat enteric pathogens, their complex, three-dimensional organization represents a major challenge. In the first half of the webcast, limitations and pitfalls inherent to organoids for studying host-pathogen interactions as well as technical solutions for overcoming some of these problems will be discussed. Findings will be presented in the context of the enteric viruses Reovirus, Astrovirus and more recently SARS-CoV-2. Using organoids as a model system, the importance of type III interferon in protecting the human gut against viral infection, as well as the role of individual cell types that are present in tissues (and organoids) will be presented.

In the second half of the webcast, development of kidney organoids that transcriptomically match second trimester gestational kidneys as well as their application for the study of early events associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection will be presented.  Furthermore, suitability of this approach for testing therapeutic compounds that block SARS-CoV-2 entrance will be discussed.    

You will learn:

  • How organoids may be used as model systems for SARS-CoV-2 infection
  • Advantages and challenges of using organoids to study host-pathogen interactions
This webcast has been produced on behalf of the sponsor who retains sole responsibility for content. About this content.


Dr. Steeve Boulant
Group Leader, Department of Infectious Diseases, Virology
Heidelberg University
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Dr. Nuria Montserrat
ICREA Research Professor, Group Leader
Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC)
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Moderator: Sarah Hiddleston
Science Journalist
Nature Research for Nature Middle East
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