AxoSim Lead Scientist Corey Rountree, PhD, recaps his experiences from the inaugural MPS World Summit held in New Orleans in May 2022.

Tell us about your experience at the MPS World Summit.

The MPS World Summit was a great experience for both presenting our recent advances and seeing how other companies and labs in the MPS space are progressing. After 2 years of limited or online conferences due to COVID-19, it was refreshing to be able to see colleagues and the research presentations and advancements in person. It was wonderful to have the conference here in New Orleans, which allowed most members of our science and research teams to attend. In contrast to larger, more general conferences like SOT or SfN, it was exciting to attend a smaller, more focused conference attended by most of the major players in the MPS field.

What was your favorite experience or interaction and why?

My favorite experience was my poster presentation: Novel, High-Throughput Electrophysiology Platform for Screening Neurotoxic Compounds with a Peripheral Nerve. It’s always nice as a scientist to be able to present your data in a more personal setting such as one-on-one conversations at a poster presentation. At the MPS conference, I particularly enjoyed the conversations I had with grad students, post docs, and scientists as I presented our recent development of the embedded electrode array (EEA) system. It’s seeing the interest and excitement in attendees as you go through your data as well as fielding unexpected yet thoughtful questions that made this my favorite experience.

What were your biggest takeaways as a scientist attending MPS World Summit this year?

It was extremely valuable to see how microphysiological systems work in other tissue systems such as the liver, lung, and blood-brain-barrier. There are many innovations that are being made in those systems that could be very applicable and useful to integrate with our neural MPS platforms moving forward.

From your perspective, what were the biggest takeaways for AxoSim from the MPS World Summit?

One of the biggest takeaways for AxoSim was the highly collaborative environment in the MPS field. The general feeling was that a success for any MPS company or lab is a success for all. This message was continually repeated throughout the talks and discussions across all topics. While we might all be working on similar concepts and even systems, we’re still only meeting a small percentage of the pharmaceutical industry’s needs for viable alternatives to animal testing and there’s plenty of opportunities for all.

Another big takeaway from the conference was several interesting instruments and cell sources that will be helpful for future studies here at AxoSim. Many of these discussions have the possibility of developing into collaborations and partnerships in the future, allowing AxoSim to succeed along with other MPS companies and labs. As an example, we were able to evaluate instruments at the conference using our own cells in real-time by walking samples from our lab, 5 blocks away, to the conference hall.

What are your thoughts on the future of the MPS field?

There is significant potential for MPS to make a huge impact on pharmaceutical testing–both within our own sphere of neural systems and outside of it–in the many disparate systems on display at MPS World Summit. It’s amazing how fast the MPS field has expanded in the last 10 years and I can’t even begin to imagine how far we’ll be in the next 10 or even 5 years. MPS models are moving closer and closer to being a viable alternative to animal testing, especially with some of the recent news of MPS platforms being used for FDA testing.

(Picture above L-R: Corey Rountree, PhD, with Lowry Curley, PhD)