Weekend of Science 2019

Imagine: you are sick and the doctors are not sure if a certain drug will cure you. Wouldn’t it be great if the drug could first be tested on a small piece of your body, cultured in the lab? Join us in spying on, modifying and testing organoids on the 6th of October at Utrecht University.

Or imagine that you need a organ transplant. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could grow a new organ from a small piece of your body? This concept becomes more and more realistic through the culturing of organoids; mini-organds that we can grow in the lab in a liquid that contains specific nutrients. We can grow these organoids from stem cells from a variety of organs in our bodies.

Learn what these mini-organs actually are and what you can use them for during the Weekend of Science on Sunday the 6th of October between 11:00 and 16:00You can find us at the Koningsbergergebouw of Utrecht University, Budapestlaan 4a-b in Utrecht.


First we will learn how we can grow mini-organs in the lab. You will be experimenting with making culture medium, a specific liquid that contains nutrients for the mini organs. So put on a lab coat and help us grow the mini-organs!

After we have grown the mini-organs in the lab, we can change their DNA in order to mimic a disease that people can get. We can use these modified mini-organs to study what exactly happens when someone has a certain disease and we can use this knowledge to develop better drugs for patients in the future. Participate in our quiz and build your own piece of mini-organ-DNA with the answers!

We can also use mini-organs to test existing and new drugs for a variety of diseases. To do this, we can grow mini-organs from many different patients in the lab and test if a certain drug can cure the disease for each individual patient. Can you discover which mini-organ responds to our new drug?

In the future we also hope to use mini-organs to replace organs, for patients with a damaged organ, such as a kidney. At the moment these patients have to wait for a donor organ, something that can take a long time. We hope that in the future we will be able to grow mini-organs in such a way that they can help repair the patients organs. Craft your own mini-organ to take home with you!

The Hubrecht Institute, Regenerative Medicine Center Utrecht, UMC Utrecht and Utrecht University together present “Mysterious mini-organs“. As researchers we work together with mini-organs to better understand and cure diseases. 

Photo in the banner: Ruben van Vliet Fotografie