PhD candidate “Developing Microfluidic Organ-on-Chip Devices of the Heart”

University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands, 25/01/2021

Description

Job Description

Covid-19 comes with a range of symptoms – from a sore throat and the loss of taste to more serious ones like lung failure. But how can doctors predict how serious the disease will be when it first manifests?

To that end, the University of Twente is participating in a pan-European research program led by EPFL in Switzerland called Digipredict. The goal of the program is to develop a ‘digital twin’ that can detect serious complications in Covid-19 patients (and beyond), employing breakthrough technology in the fields of artificial intelligence, smart patches and organs-on-chips.

In this European multidisciplinary consortium, you will be working on the development of ‘physical avatars’ of patients by developing microfluidic organ-on-chip devices of the heart that integrate patient samples. By linking the data from these physical avatars with data from clinical measurements, we will generate an accurate picture of how the disease is progressing in a patient and how well chosen treatments are working.

We have an existing prototype of a fully stem cell-derived heart-on-chip with integrated vasculature for use in the project. You will primarily work on further development of this prototype in terms of microfluidic automation, parallelization and dynamic perfusion, but will also be expected to carry out biological experiments in which you will culture stem cell-derived tissues in the device and treat them with cytokines and drugs.

You will work as a PhD candidate at the Applied Stem Cell Technologies (AST) group within the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of Twente in Enschede, the Netherlands. You will collaborate with the BIOS/Lab on a Chip group of the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, and will be supervised by Dr. Andries van der Meer and Prof. Albert van den Berg. Your first responsibility will be to carry out the research project, but you are also encouraged to acquire teaching experience. We support you to broaden your knowledge by joining international exchange programs, by participating in national and international conferences and workshops and by visiting industrial companies, research institutes, and universities worldwide.

Your Profile

  • You are a highly motivated and enthusiastic researcher
  • You have a M.Sc. degree in biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, nanotechnology, applied physics, mechanical engineering or a related topic, with excellent theoretical and experimental skills
  • You have proven affinity with biomedical science, with microfluidics, microfabrication, programming and with cell biological techniques
  • You have experience with organ-on-chip technology and/or are motivated to develop organ-on-chip devices
  • You have good team spirit and like to work in an internationally oriented environment
  • You are fluent in English

Our Offer

You will be appointed on a fulltime position for four years, with a qualifier in the first year, within a very stimulating scientific environment. The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues. Salary and conditions are in accordance with the collective labor agreement for Dutch universities (CAO-VSNU).

  • We provide a stimulating, modern research environment with world-class research facilities
  • You will be part of a dedicated team and you will collaborate extensively with other European institutes in the same research program, like EPFL, ETH Zurich and IMEC
  • A starting salary of € 2.395 gross per month in the first year and increasing to € 3.061 gross per month in the fourth year
  • An annual holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, and an annual year-end bonus of 8.3%, a solid pension scheme and a minimum of 29 leave days in case of full-time employment
  • We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating research environment to accelerate your further professional and personal growth
  • The University of Twente is situated on a green and lively campus with lots of facilities for sports and other activities

Information and Application

Send your application before February 14, 2021, and include:

  • An application/motivation letter, emphasizing your specific interest and motivation to apply for this position
  • A detailed CV (resume), a publication list, and an academic transcript of your B.Sc. and M.Sc. education
  • As part of the selection procedure you may get invited to give a presentation of your previous work and to have an interview with prospective supervisors and colleagues

For more information about the position, please contact Dr. Andries van der Meer, andries.vandermeer@utwente.nl

About the department

The AST group belongs to the Faculty of Science and Technology. At AST, we believe that we can achieve amazing goals in the field of stem cell technologies and have a direct impact on healthcare. We work on the engineering of functional tissues from human stem cells, and we integrate them in microfluidic organs-on-chips to mimic the function of real human organs. To achieve our goals, we work on innovation of stem cell culture and differentiation, microfabrication, microfluidics, bioprinting and sensing technology.

About the organization

University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology’ we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT’s departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

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