Every Cell Counts.
MxW Bulletin | Edition No. 4 | 2020

Editor's Note

Hello Everyone! 

How are you all doing? 

Here's an update on the latest happenings at MaxWell Biosystems. As a follow-up to our latest widely downloaded application brochure on brain organoids, we have recently published a webinar on this topic. We introduce how our technology can easily capture the activity of brain organoids at single-cell resolution, label-free! This is one of the most popular episodes in our webinar series and I hope you will enjoy it.

We also highlight our featured MaxTwo user, Dr. Laura D'Ignazio of the Lieber Institute for Brain Development in Baltimore, MD, USA.

Additionally, we welcome new members to the MxW Team! 

Here are the contents of this newsletter: Enjoy reading (and watching)!  :-)

Featured Webinar

Functional characterization of 3D organoids

Organoids that originate from human induced pluripotent stem cells (h-iPSCs) are emerging as promising tools for investigating development and disease progression. In order to adopt human organoids for rapid and cost-effective drug screenings, it is necessary to assess their cell type composition, gene expression patterns and physiological function. 

Focusing on the functional characterization of organoids, it is necessary to understand the activity at different scales: network, cellular, and also sub-cellular.
 The electrical activity of brain, retina or muscle organoids can now be easily captured, label-free, at single-cell resolution by using MaxWell Biosystems’ high-density microelectrode array (HD-MEA) technology.

In this webinar, we

  • Introduce high-resolution functional imaging of organoids using MaxOne/MaxTwo HD-MEA platforms
  • Present results from organoids modeling different brain compartments
  • Demonstrate the potential of HD-MEA technology for characterizing the physiological function of human brain organoids and for testing compounds

You can also download the accompanying application note here.

Watch Webinar

User Interview

Dr. Laura D'Ignazio, Lieber Institute for Brain Development

Dr. Laura D'Ignazio
Postdoctoral Researcher in Erwin Lab at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development in Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Hello Laura, congratulations on your recent award for the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund Post-Doctoral Fellowship! (link here)
Thank you!

Could you please describe your research for us?
Thanks to a collaboration with Dr. Cristopher Bragg and The Collaborative Center for X-linked Dystonia Parkinsonism (XDP), I am working with human pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) derived from patients exhibiting XDP. No cure is available for this movement disorder caused by a series of genetic mutations, including a retrotransposon insertion, and the exact molecular mechanisms causing this neurodegenerative disease remain unknown.  
The degeneration occurs in a particular area of the brain, the  caudate nucleus, and the goal of our study is to differentiate control and patient-derived iPSC lines into striatal brain organoids to elucidate the specific pathological mechanisms affecting XDP neuronal cells. We believe mimicking the complexity of the brain in a dish using these organoids could help discover cellular phenotypes that might be targets for mechanistic studies and/or drug development.
We are using a multidisciplinary approach with transcriptomic analyses, advanced genomics, and multielectrode array technology, using MaxTwo. 
How are you using MaxTwo for your research?
I am first differentiating striatal organoids derived from healthy individuals and XDP patients. After about a month I transfer the organoids into a MaxTwo 6-well plate and record once a week until the organoids become active.
I then monitor the functionality of the organoids by running activity scans and network analysis over time. Having the possibility to cultivate multiple organoids in the same plate is a nice feature of MaxTwo: I can better compare the activity from organoids derived from the cohort of patients or the control group. I am confident that using a 3D model will allow observing a difference in neuronal activity and identifying a phenotype. 
XDP is an adult-onset disorder, so it is critical to be able to perform experiments on mature organoids. Using MaxTwo, I was able to record organoids for up to 6 months. 
Which feature of MaxTwo do you appreciate the most?
The high-density of the array is a great advantage of the system. The well plate is coated to allow an attachment of the organoid to the sensor area, however, it is not possible to control which part of the organoid attach exactly on which location of the area. This could be a problem with a low-resolution MEA because the active neurons could then be outside the recording area, but with the high-density array, this is not an issue anymore. 
I also appreciate the possibility to extract all the metrics to further analyze at a later point. 
Where there any challenges?
I am not an electrophysiologist by training, so some homeworks were needed at the beginning to understand the meaning of the different metrics, such as firing rate and spike amplitude, but I have to say that the great MaxWell support, with helpful and timely responses, made things much easier. 
I appreciated having the possibility to discuss the experiments with application scientists, getting support on either planning the experiment (e.g. adjusting coating parameters) or on analysing the results.
When I started using the system, some coding was needed. Even if the good support made it easy to conduct experiments without coding experience, the new software makes the experience much more user-friendly! 

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Overall I can say that MaxTwo is a very helpful system that comes together with a very helpful support, tailored to your needs!

Thanks a lot for your time Laura, we are happy to hear that you are satisfied with the system and wish you all the best for your upcoming research! 

Upcoming Conferences

Most of our events have gone virtual this year. We were happy to sponsor the "From Stem Cell to Human Development Virtual Meeting 2020" that took place from September 8th to 10th.

Meet us at our next events:

Safety Pharmacology Society Meeting 2020
September 14-17
Virtual booth

Discovery on Target 2020
September 16-18
Virtual booth and presentation in the Disease Modeling track

We are very much looking forward to the upcoming co-hosted MaxWell and FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics Webinar on October 15th about Phenotype Characterization of Human iPSC-Derived Neuronal Cell Lines, with Silvia Ronchi from ETH Zurich as a guest speaker. Save the date and register here!

MxW News

MaxWell Biosystems won INNOWWIDE Grant
MaxWell Biosystems is proud to be, together with Hopstem Biotechnology, one of the winner of INNOWIDE, a Horizon 2020 project that aims to fund European innovative SMEs and start-ups to conduct Viability Assessment Projects in markets outside of Europe. We ranked 34th out of over 600 applicants! 
MxW at the Top 100 Swiss Startup Award

MaxWell Biosystems has been selected for the fourth year in a row as one of the 100 most innovative and promising Swiss startups by the TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award

We're Growing! Announcing New MxW Team Members

We are excited to have Dr. Marcel Suter joining the management team as our new VP Operations.

Julian Bisten joined in July as an Associate R&D Engineer and Steffen Deubler joined earlier this month as a Senior Software Engineer. 

We are very happy to welcome Marcel, Julian, and Steffen as new members of the MxW Team! 

We are confident that our growing team will allow to better serve our customers' and partners' needs.

If you are interested to join us, please check out our Careers page.

Latest Publications using MxW Technology

S. Ronchi,  A. P. Buccino, G. Prack, S. S. Kumar, M. Schröter, M. Fiscella, A. Hierlemann, 
"Electrophysiological Phenotype Characterization of Human IPSC-Derived Neuronal Cell Lines by Means of High-Density Microelectrode Arrays", BioRxiv. 2020 (DOI: 10.1101/2020.09.02.271403)
M. Kollo, R. Racz, M. Hanna, A. Obaid, M. R. Angle, W. Wray, Y. Kong, A. Hierlemann, J. Müller, 
N. A. Melosh, A. T. Schaefer, "CHIME: CMOS-hosted in-vivo microelectrodes for massively scalable neuronal recordings", Front. Neurosci. 2020 (DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2020.00834)