This one-day conference will focus on stem cell-based models of development and disease. Taking place on Thursday 9th December 2021 the day will run from 9:00am – 5:00pm GMT and will take place virtually. There will also be a virtual conference social from 5:00 – 6:00pm GMT.

Stem cell-based models of embryo development have been flourishing over the past decade. These model systems recapitulate in culture fundamental aspects of mammalian development from gametogenesis, peri-implantation development to organogenesis. Critically, they enable experimental approaches to unravel the molecular basis of human developmental disorders including infertility.

This Genesis Research Trust Symposium aims to bring together and grow the community working in stem cell modelling and related fields to share ideas and discuss key topics for future research, including the opportunities and limitations of embryo models and the emergence of sophisticated bioengineering tools that can advance biomedical discoveries.


  • Germ cell engineering
  • Peri-implantation engineering
  • Post-implantation engineering
  • Organogenesis engineering and diseases
  • Opportunities and challenging with stem cell-based embryo models

Leading researchers in the field will discuss their work in these areas.

The conference will be introduced by Robert Winston, Genesis Research Trust & Imperial College London and chaired by Dr Véronique Azuara (Imperial College London) and Dr Harry Leitch (Imperial College London & MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences)

Registration fees: 

£100 for Academics/Clinicians
£50 for Trainees (Students/Postdocs)
£15 for delegates in LMI countries (listed on tab)


The conference will take place live on Thursday 9th December 2021, a recording will be available to delegates for up to 6 months after the event has taken place.


Véronique Azuara (Imperial College London)

Harry Leitch (Imperial College London & MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences)


  • Janet Rossant, President Scientific Director, The Canada Gairdner Foundation
  • Katsuhiko Hayashi, Department of Stem Cell Biology and Medicine, Kyushu University
  • Nicolas Rivron, Institute of Microbiotechnology, Austrian Academy of Sciences
  • Marta Shahbazi, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Cambridge
  • Jesse Veenvliet, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
  • Naomi Moris, The Francis Crick Institute
  • Matthias Lütolf, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
  • Nicola Elvassore, University College London / University of Padua
  • Silvia Cappello, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry

Registration fees: 

£100 for Academics/Clinicians (Early Bird Rate £75 until October 2021)
£50 for Trainees (Students/Postdocs)
£15 for delegates in LMI countries (listed on tab)

Who is the conference for?  

This conference is aimed at those interested in using stem cells and stem-cell derived models to study normal development and developmental disorders. Featuring talks from international leaders on a broad range of topics including stem-cell-based embryo models, organoids, gastruloids and much more!

Conference proceeds

Proceeds from all of our conferences support our research into problems with fertility, pregnancy and birth. Our scientists at the Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology at Imperial College London continue to lead the world in this field of research. Many major findings at the site have contributed to the understanding of fertility and fetal development. This has improved in utero and newborn babies’ health.

Please see the Genesis Research Trust website for further information about us.


Véronique Azuara (Imperial College London)

Véronique is an Academic Reader in Stem Cell Biology at the Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, Imperial College London, where she heads the Development and Epigenetics laboratory, and a visiting Interest Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute, London. Her research aims at deciphering the fundamental principles that govern stem cell potency and developmental transitions from epigenetic, transcriptional, cellular, and metabolic perspectives.

Harry Leitch (Imperial College London & MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences)

Harry is a clinician-scientist, being both an Academic Clinical Lecturer in Genetics at Imperial College London and an MRC Investigator at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences, where he heads the Germline & Pluripotency laboratory. In addition, he leads the Origins of Child Health & Disease Research Theme at the new Imperial Centre for Paediatrics & Child Health.



Lord Professor Winston, Chairman of our charity, Genesis Research Trust, will introduce the conference.


Professor Janet Rossant, President and Scientific Director, The Gairdner Foundation, will deliver the keynote talk.


Professor Katsuhiko Hayashi, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, will talk about germ cell engineering: primordial germ cell-like cells (PGCLCs) and oogenesis.


Peri-implantation engineering

Dr Nicolas Rivron, Institute of Microbiotechnology, Austrian Academy of Sciences, will present his work on peri-implantation engineering in mice.


Dr Marta Shahbazi, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Cambridge, will develop the theme in discussing modelling human peri-implantation development in vitro.


Post-implantation engineering

Dr Jesse Veenvliet, Stembryogenesis Lab, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, will present post-implantation engineering in mice.


Dr Naomi Moris, The Crick Institute, will extend this topic to post-implantation engineering in humans.


Organogenesis engineering and Diseases

Dr Silvia Cappello, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, will share her latest research on organogenesis engineering and diseases.


Professor Matthias Lütolf, leader at the laboratory of Stem Cell Bioengineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne will connect with the above theme with an update on bioengineering of organoids.


Professor Nicola Elvassore, University College London and University of Padua, will talk about the topic in relation to hepatocytes.

We will be hosting a networking social that will take place after the conference in an environment like a classic game, We will be using the platform 

Imagine yourself in a conference hall – except now virtually! Attendees will be able to walk around rooms and interact with other delegates while being able to talk to people ‘virtually’ close to you.

In Gather, you can see and hear the people around you. You can navigate using the arrow keys on your keyboard to move around. If you are looking for someone specific, you can select their name in the participant bar on the side and a create a path to them.

We will be releasing the links to the virtual Gather poster sessions to you prior to the conference beginning. We recommend using Google Chrome. When Gather launches, you will be prompted to allow permissions for your browser to use your computers microphone and camera. Select ‘allow’. This setting can also be changed using your browsers preferences. Add your name and join the gathering.


Audio visual troubleshooting:

Our conferences raise funds to advance the scientific understanding of (in)fertility, pregnancy loss and reproductive cancers. Event sponsors make an important difference by covering some of our operational costs, helping us minimise registration fees and pass on a higher proportion of these directly supporting our research at the Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology at Imperial College London.

AXOL Bioscience

Axol is a leading provider of product and service solutions for neuroscience and cardiac modelling in drug discovery and screening applications. Our custom research capabilities in gene editing, electrophysiology, reprogramming, and differentiation means we can offer customers validated ready-to-use cell lines and a suite of services bolstered by deep scientific expertise and robust functional data – all with shorter lead times.

With the widespread and rapid uptake of iPSC-based products and technologies for use in drug development R&D and screening, there is a growing call from users for better reproducibility and consistency in these increasingly critical tools.

To meet that moment, Axol is committed to being an industry leader in applying robust quality systems to the development and manufacture of iPSC products. We recently took a critical first step of obtaining ISO:9001 certification at our manufacturing site in Edinburgh, Scotland.

We have implemented a quality policy that articulates our three guiding principles:  

  • Commitment to a quality culture
  • Commitment to a customer focus
  • Commitment to regulatory compliance

These are only the first steps in a quality journey to ensure that everything we produce is consistently made, data is accurately documented, and changes to product are communicated to the customers who trust us to deliver the models and discovery tools that they rely on.

Please visit for more information.

Qkine is a manufacturer of high purity, animal-free growth factors, cytokines and other complex proteins, based in Cambridge, UK.

Qkine combines proprietary production processes, developed at the University of Cambridge, with protein engineering technology to tackle fundamental biological and scale-up challenges for the fast-growing stem cell, organoid, regenerative medicine and cultured meat sectors.

Qkine has an active R&D pipeline and continually adds new products to its range. Proteins uniquely available from Qkine include tag-free thermostable FGF2-G3, the first animal-free TGFβ1 for chemically defined stem cell media, and animal-free HGF (NK1).

Qkine is an ISO9001: 2015 certified company. Please visit for more information.

This is a list of countries with low-income or middle-income economies that qualify for our special £15 rate to attend this conference. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) compiles this information and revises it every three years.

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cabo Verde
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • China (People’s Republic of)
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Congo
  • Costa Rica
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Lao People’s Democratic Republic
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • North Macedonia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Montserrat
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Niue
  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Helena
  • Samoa
  • São Tomé and Príncipe
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Syrian Arab Republic
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Wallis and Futuna
  • West Bank and Gaza Strip
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe