2023 Annual meeting

PREMSTEM consortium members came together for the project’s annual meeting on 6 and 7 September 2023 at the Maastricht Exhibition and Conference Centre. We were also joined virtually by members of our advisory board.

Maastricht University researchers organised the two-day programme which included a session for PhD and postdoctoral researchers to present their research, the formal meeting where each work package leader presented updates and progress in their tasks, and networking within the team.

Project coordinator Professor Pierre Gressens welcomed partners to the formal meeting before work package leaders took to the floor to present project updates from the different work packages. Some of the highlights are outlined below:

  • The Maastricht University team is tracking where stem cells end up in the small animal model by labelling them with gold nanoparticles. They can also track mitochondria to see how long stem cells survive.
  • Analysis of the effectiveness of the stem cell treatment will be undertaken by the team at RMIT University in Melbourne, examining tissues from the large animal studies carried out in Maastricht.
  • The University of Geneva is using MRI to analyse the brain of animals from the infection model studied in Maastricht. The Geneva team is analysing the long-term efficacy of the stem cell treatment with interesting findings seen so far in the basal ganglia (grey matter) and internal capsule (white matter).
  • Data from UMCU shows that exposure to stem cells stimulates neuron differentiation and the formation of more complex networks. In their creatine preloading experiments, they have seen increased stem cell energy production (basal mitochondrial respiration).
  • The Iconeus team has created a new 4D probe and is working on improving functional interconnectivity mapping to make this technology plug and play.
  • The RMIT Europe team has organised 16 one-on-one interviews with parents, neonatologists, nurses and adults who were born preterm as well as one media professional as part of the project’s co-creation activities. Co-creation workshops will resume on 18 October,

We look forward to coming together again for the 2024 annual meeting which will be hosted by our consortium members at the University of Gothenburg next June.