From stem cells to human development

Organisers: Paola Arlotta, Ali Brivanlou, Olivier Pourquié and Jason Spence

Date: 23 - 26 September 2018

Location: Wotton House, Surrey, UK

This meeting will represent the third in our highly successful series of events focussing on human developmental biology. Since the initiation of this series, in 2014, we have witnessed huge progress in this field, with more and more researchers turning to stem cell and organoid systems to investigate development and organogenesis in vitro, as well as increased analysis of human embryos and tissues to understand how these processes occur in vivo. Technological advances such as genome editing, single cell sequencing and improvements in tissue engineering now allow us to delve more deeply into the conserved and divergent processes underlying human development. Such knowledge is essential to underpin translational research into developmental disorders and to develop cell and tissue therapies.

As previously, this meeting brings together researchers working on a diverse set of questions – from early cell fate choices in the human embryo to tissue organogenesis in all three germ layers, from epigenetic and other mechanisms underlying stem cell pluripotency and differentiation to methods for visualising and analysing the entire human embryo. Despite this breadth of interests, the scientists involved are united by  common challenges associated with working with human cells and tissues, and by a common goal to understand the similarities and differences between human development and that of other species. As well as talks from invited speakers and selected delegates, the meeting will also include a discussion session on the ethical and legal challenges of working with early human embryos, cells and organoid cultures – and how we as a community should address these.


  • Early embryogenesis and germline development
  • Ectoderm lineages including neural development
  • Mesoderm lineages
  • Endoderm lineages
  • Visualising, mapping and quantifying human embryogenesis
  • Tissue engineering


Venue JCS

Wotton House

De Vere Wotton House hotel, near Dorking in Surrey, is an estate like no other. Built in the 17th century, the house was once the seat of the Evelyn family, and is set in sweeping grounds of over 13 acres – including Italian gardens, manicured lawns and Roman-style temples.

Wotton House boasts a mix of original features and 21st century style, and the entire venue has recently been refurbished. Amenities include a gym, heated pool and spa, as well as superfast WiFi throughout the hotel and free-flowing refreshments within the conference area. All meals will be provided in the 1877 Restaurant.

Wotton House is located under an hour’s drive from both Gatwick and Heathrow Airports, with fast train connections from Dorking Station to London Waterloo.

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