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PhD position on Developing Modular Microfluidic Organ-on-Chip Technology for High-Throughput Experiments

Are you looking for a challenging PhD position?

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    Jeroen Blok
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Key takeaways

  • Hours
    40 hr.
  • Salary indication
    Salary gross/monthly
    based on full-time
    € 2,541 - € 3,247
  • Deadline
    14 Apr 2023

The BIOS Lab-on-a-Chip chair (“Miniaturized systems for biomedical and environmental applications”) aims at the research and development of Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) systems. The applied stem cell technology (AST) group aims making patient-specific replicas of the human body, so that every patient can get tailor-made medicine. Both groups are embedded within both the MESA+ institute for Nanotechnology and the TechMed institute. MESA+ is one of the world’s largest nanotechnology research institutes; and it’s the largest research institute in this field in the Netherlands. TechMed is the University of Twente's research Centre for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine.

Research in this project will be part of the “NXTGEN Hightech, Biomedical Production Technologies” growth fund project funded by the Dutch government. This project is a continuation of our recently published work, see the following links for details:

1.       https://doi.org/10.1038/s41378-020-00216-z
2.       https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0063428
3.       https://doi.org/10.1007/s10544-021-00556-1

Job specifications
The field: Organ-on-Chip (OoC) is a game-changing approach in which human cells are cultured in microfluidic chips simulating and predicting the response of healthy and diseased human tissues. OoC has the potential to revolutionize today’s biomedical testing procedures that often involve ethically challenged animal testing and, most importantly, lead to variable results. Despite its promise, OoC adoption is hampered by profound technical and functional limitations. In this multidisciplinary project, engineers and biomedical researchers join forces to overcome these limitations by developing a novel OoC platform based on modular microfluidic building blocks (MFBB) and fluidic circuit boards (FCB) [2].

The aim: High-throughput experimentation is essential to this field, as OoC technology is used to e.g. find new stem cell differentiation protocols [3], to screen new pharmaceuticals, or screen toxicological effects. Our approach to this problem is to use pneumatically actuated valves to address many individual cell culture chambers individually by multiplexing [1]. In this project we want to push multiplexing technology by improving our valve technology. This includes possible development of electrostatically driven valves, and by extending the range of materials we use to fabricate our microfluidic chips.

Your profile

  • We are looking for candidates with a Master’s Degree in a relevant field, like e.g. biomedical engineering, electrical engineering,  mechanical (micro) engineering or physics. Post-doctoral researchers do not need to apply, we are specifically looking for someone interested in obtaining a PhD degree.
  • The candidates should be able to work independently yet able to function in this multi-disciplinary project, and have excellent experimental skills.
  • Fluent command of English is strictly required.
  • Knowledge or experience in microfluidics, organ on chip, and/or cell culturing is considered as a key advantage.
  • We are looking for an engineering-type of personality.
  • Knowledge of microfabrication (especially focused on polymer processing and/or MEMS), microfluidics, and a basic background in electronics is preferred.
  • Most importantly, the BIOS Lab-on-a-Chip and AST groups in general, are very challenging multidisciplinary environments. It is therefore essential to show willingness to look beyond disciplinary boundaries, to learn new techniques and skills required for this project.

Our offer

  • As a PhD candidate at UT, you will be appointed to a full-time position for four years, with a qualifier in the first year, within a very stimulating and exciting scientific environment;
  • The University offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues;
  • Your salary and associated conditions are in accordance with the collective labour agreement for Dutch universities (CAO-NU);
  • You will receive a gross monthly salary ranging from € 2.541,- (first year) to € 3.247,- (fourth year);
  • There are excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme;
  • A minimum of 232 leave hours in case of full-time employment based on a formal workweek of 38 hours. A full-time employment in practice means 40 hours a week, therefore resulting in 96 extra leave hours on an annual basis.
  • Free access to sports facilities on campus.
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid);
  • You will have a training programme as part of the Twente Graduate School where you and your supervisors will determine a plan for a suitable education and supervision;
  • We encourage a high degree of responsibility and independence, while collaborating with close colleagues, researchers and other staff.

Information and application

Are you interested in this position? Please send your application via the ‘Apply now’ button before April 15, 2023, and include a CV and motivation letter.

For questions regarding this position, contact Mathieu Odijk (m.odijk@utwente.nl) or Andries van der Meer (andries.vandermeer@utwente.nl).

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About the organisation

The faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) uses mathematics, electronics and computer technology to contribute to the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). With ICT present in almost every device and product we use nowadays, we embrace our role as contributors to a broad range of societal activities and as pioneers of tomorrow's digital society. As part of a people-first tech university that aims to shape society, individuals and connections, our faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad, and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. Our research has a high profile both in the Netherlands and internationally. It has been accommodated in three multidisciplinary UT research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centre and Digital Society Institute.

Want to know more?

Odijk, M. (Mathieu)

Odijk, M. (Mathieu)
Full Professor

Odijk, M. (Mathieu)
Full Professor

Do you have questions about this vacancy? Then you can contact Mathieu for all substantive questions about this position and the application procedure. For general questions about working for the UT, please refer to the chatbot.

How to apply

Step 1

When you see a vacancy that appeals to you, you can apply online. We ask you to upload a CV and motivation letter and/or list of publications. You will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail.

Apply now

Step 2

The selection committee will review your application and you will receive a response within 2 weeks after the vacancy has been closed.

Step 3

1st interview.
The 1st (online or in person) meeting serves as an introduction where we introduce ourselves to you and you to us. You may be asked to give a short presentation. This will be further explained in the invitation.

Step 4

2nd interview.
In the second interview, we will further discuss the job content, your skills and your talents.

Step 5

The offer.
If the conversations are positive, you will be made a suitable offer.

Your Colleagues

About the faculty EEMCS

Curious about what the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) stands for? Check out the EEMCS website for more information.

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