SCN Travel Awards for the ApOC Workshop on Stem Cells and Neural Organoids



Application Deadline: May 19, 2023
Start Date: July 10, 2023
Location: University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario (In-Person)

The application process is closed.

The Stem Cell Network is offering a limited number of travel awards for SCN trainees to attend the ApOC Workshop on Stem Cells and Neural Organoids.

Human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) derived organoids present unique opportunities to non-invasively explore human disease processes, examine personalized drug discovery approaches, and study complex biological processes. This workshop, organized by the Applied Organoid Core (ApOC) at the University of Toronto and directed by Dr. Liliana Attisano, will comprise an intensive and comprehensive four-day session that combines lectures from experts on the broad applications of organoids in discovery research with hands-on experience in the maintenance and propagation of hPSCs in culture and the generation of neural organoids from stem cells.

The first day will consist of presentations by faculty and trainees using neural organoids in their research. Attendees will then acquire hands-on exposure to practical aspects of stem cell culture, including basic maintenance and quality considerations, induction of neural progenitor cell types, and generation of cerebral organoids. Theory and concepts will be delivered through a series of complementary practical lectures and STEMCELL Technologies will co-host the hands-on laboratory sessions. State-of-the-art organoid imaging tutorials and accompanying demos using confocal microscopy will follow the in-lab sessions and be offered in person by Nikon specialists.

On the last day of the workshop, attendees will attend an RNA-seq analysis session focused on organoid datasets with a focus on annotating observed phenotypes using reference data from relevant tissues (prior preparation will be required).

Additional spaces not covered by an SCN travel award may also be available for this course. Please contact Maria Mangos at maria.mangos@utoronto.ca for more details.

Who should attend:
This SCN travel award is for trainees/Highly Qualified Personnel  (HQP) (i.e., graduate students, post-docs, research associates and/or technicians) currently working in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine in a Canadian lab. This workshop will be of interest to those who wish to acquire direct technical experience working with stem cells and their derivatives, as well as in the application of imaging or computational methods for their analysis. For the RNA-seq session, previous experience with R (e.g., https://datacarpentry.org/R-ecology-lesson/01-intro-to-r.html) is an advantage, but not necessary, as all data and required code will be provided to help guide the participant. Preference will also be given to trainees/HQP with mammalian cell culture experience.

Workshop Learning Objectives:
At the end of this workshop, participants will gain an in-depth understanding of the theory, applications and techniques for generating neural organoid models from high-quality stem cell cultures to address fundamental questions underlying their research aims. Topics covered will include:

  • Lectures spanning basic exploratory work to pre-clinical discussions of developments in the field of neural organoids, with ample opportunity for informal networking;
  • Thawing/cryopreservation, maintenance and stem cell passaging methods;
  • Assessment of stem cell culture quality; identification and removal of random differentiation;
  • Single-cell preparation and seeding for embryoid bodies for neural organoid initiation;
  • Harvesting of embryoid bodies and hydrogel embedding (matrigel);
  • Observation of stem cell cultures and organoid time course through previously prepared fixed samples;
  • Observation of key cell populations through confocal microscopy;
  • Familiarity with the steps of basic preprocessing of raw scRNA-seq data;
  • Methods to navigate published reference datasets (e.g. tissue atlases); and
  • Options for annotating cell types observed in organoid data and how deviation from a healthy reference can be used to evaluate experimental effects.

Dates & Key Details

Dates: July 10 – 13, 2023
Day 1, The Donnelly Centre, 160 College Street, Toronto ON
Days 2 & 3, Lassonde Mining Building, 170 College Street, rm 325, Toronto ON
Day 4, The Donnelly Centre, 160 College Street, Toronto

Additional workshop details can be accessed here.

How to Apply for the SCN Travel Award

  • Complete the application form here and return it, along with any additional documents required, by email to earnold@stemcellnetwork.ca by 11:59 PM (sender’s time), May 19, 2023.
  • Provide a full letter of support from your current supervisor detailing how your attendance will benefit your research and the lab’s stem cell research program as a whole. Letters should be e-mailed by supervisors directly to Ellie Arnold, earnold@stemcellnetwork.ca at the same time you submit your application documents.
    A confirmation email will be sent within 24 hours of SCN receiving the submitted support letter. If a confirmation email is NOT received from SCN within 24 hours of submission, it is the responsibility of the applicant to contact SCN and ensure that all application materials have been received by SCN.
  • The SCN Training & Education Committee will review all complete applications, and applicants will be informed of the competition outcome by early June. Notification of acceptance for successful applicants will include a link to register directly with the workshop organizers.


  • Applicants must be a trainee or highly qualified personnel (HQP) (i.e. a graduate student, post-doc, research associate and/or technician currently working on a research project in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine in a Canadian lab.)
  • Non-academic applicants are not eligible for this SCN travel support. Interested non-academic applicants should contact the workshop organizer directly by emailing Maria Mangos at mangos@utoronto.ca.
  • If you’re unsure whether you are a trainee/HQP, please email Ellie Arnold at earnold@stemcellnetwork.ca for confirmation.
  • Applicants must clearly demonstrate that they will apply the techniques learned at the course to their own stem cell research project within one year.


  • If applicable, SCN travel support will cover travel expenses associated with attending the event, up to $2,500, for those not based in Toronto, ON, including:
    • Travel to/from the event location.
    • Accommodation beginning the night before the event with departure on the day after the event).
    • Meals not provided during the event.
  • Reimbursement will be processed following the event, in accordance with the SCN Travel Booking & Reimbursement Policy (policy will be provided to successful applicants). All reimbursement payments are by EFT.
  • Spaces are limited for this training opportunity. SCN will cover the travel and registration costs of this workshop for applicants who attend all sessions. For applicants who fail to attend all sessions in the absence of extenuating circumstances, expenses related to travel bookings and cancellations will not be covered.
  • By accepting a place on this workshop, the recipient agrees to complete a survey describing the value of the training and networking opportunities made available through the award. This information will be used at SCN’s discretion on its website, newsletters and for the purpose of reporting to their funding agencies. By registering for this workshop attendees also accept to have their pictures taken during workshop and used in materials as described above. Please note that expense reimbursement will be processed only once the completed report is received.

For further information on this workshop or application-related enquiries, please contact Ellie Arnold at earnold@stemcellnetwork.ca.

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