Label-free 3D optical imaging and characterization of retinal organoids (18 months)

Context : Retinal diseases cause varying degrees of vision loss up to complete blindness. Stem cell therapy can offer the possibility of recuperating vision. The Vision Institute uses human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology to generate different retinal cell types for rescue or replacement strategies in patients. 3D retinal organoids contain all major retinal cell types and a distinct layering close to in vivo morphology, and therefore hold great promise for transplantation, as well as for disease modeling and drug development.

Research program: The project aims to develop a non-invasive 3D live imaging microscope based on dynamic full-field optical coherence tomography (FFOCT), a technique invented at the Langevin Institute. It will fulfil an unmet need for in vitro screening of 3D retinal organoids and 2D cell cultures developed at the Vision Institute for eventual graft and new therapies evaluation. The candidate will design this microscope optimized for the longitudinal study of live organoids.  He will build  the microscope at the Vision Institute and will start performing the longitudinal evaluation of the organoids. The candidate will participate to the precise characterization of the observed signal, and to the automatic analysis of the organoid main features (cell density, cell types, activity, etc..)

Collaborations:  This project is at the core of a new ANR project called OREO that brings together researchers from the Langevin Institute, the Vision Institute, and the 15-20 national ophtalmology hospital. The final aim of OREO is to provide a new instrument that will evaluate the structure and function of retinal organoids from diseased patients and how do they respond to potential new treatments of such diseases.

Possible follow-up :  A second post-doc project of 18 months as well will follow this one and will use the microscope built during this first period to perform longitudinal studies on healthy and pathological retinal organoids, as well as pharmacological drugs evaluation. Therefore, the current project could, if desired, be extended to a 3 years project combining the instrumentation and biological parts.


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