Phd: Light-assisted 3D manufacturing of neuronal microenvironments

Phd: Light-assisted 3D manufacturing of neuronal microenvironments

Published Deadline Location
12 Dec 15 Jan Delft

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Job description

The continuous evolution of additive manufacturing technologies opened a new era for the prototyping of 3D micro- and nanostructured devices. In the field of bioengineering, one of the most fascinating challenges is the creation of biomimetic engineered microenvironments able to reproduce the features that we find in organs of the human body. These structures can address several applications spanning from basic cell biology, to in-vitro drug screening models, towards tissue engineering. Within this project, you will research how to design, fabricate and characterize 3D structures mimicking brain properties. You will participate in studies on neural cell colonisation mechanisms in these scaffolds. The investigation will be conducted in close collaboration with neural cell biology labs and medical centres to unveil how the fabricated microenvironments affect cell mechanobiology, migration and differentiation. The preferred starting data will be early 2020.

If you are passionate about pursuing a PhD project at the interface between Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science and Neuroscience, then we would welcome your application to join our group. The successful candidate will:

  • Develop and conduct research on two-photon polymerization (2PP) for the realization of the 3D micro structures with specific mechanical properties that guide cell fate.
  • Develop and integrate new biocompatible materials within 2PP processes.
  • Culture neuronal cells on these 3D scaffolds.
  • Characterize the mechanical, morphological and immunofluorescent features of both the scaffolds and the cellular networks.
  • Write a doctoral dissertation, publish results in renowned peer reviewed journals and present research at international conferences.
  • Engage in educational activities, such as supervising master students and assisting in classroom or teaching-lab activities.   


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


You should have the following qualifications:

  • A university Master of Science degree in micro- and nanotechnology, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics, materials science, or a related area.
  • Good communication skills and ability to be a team-player in a multidisciplinary setting.
  • Self-starter with initiative and ability to setup, organise and execute your research.
  • Experience with micro-fabrication and morphological/mechanical characterization is a plus.
  • Previous experience in 2PP, cell culture and/or fluorescence/confocal microscopy would be also appreciated.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education program aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.   


Technische Universiteit Delft

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is a multifaceted institution offering education and carrying out research in the technical sciences at an internationally recognised level. Education, research and design are strongly oriented towards applicability. TU Delft develops technologies for future generations, focusing on sustainability, safety and economic vitality. At TU Delft you will work in an environment where technical sciences and society converge. TU Delft comprises eight faculties, unique laboratories, research institutes and schools.


Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

The 3mE Faculty trains committed engineering students, PhD candidates and post-doctoral researchers in groundbreaking scientific research in the fields of mechanical, maritime and materials engineering. 3mE is the epitome of a dynamic, innovative faculty, with a European scope that contributes demonstrable economic and social benefits.

The mission of the Department of Precision and Microsystems Engineering (PME) is to integrate micro/nanoscience and technology with the mechanical engineering discipline. Our main focus is the high-tech industry, where miniaturisation, precision, speed and reliability are among the key drivers for equipment and (scientific) instruments. In its research programme, PME develops knowledge, methods and tools for the design and manufacture of innovative systems and devices. Our approach is multidisciplinary and combines fundamental exploration with experimental validation, taking inspiration from industry needs. Strong assets of PME are its collaborative working environment and excellent research facilities, allowing people to excel.

The vacant position is in the Micro and Nano Engineering (MNE) research group. The group focuses on pairing basic nanoscience with nanoengineering and production concepts for the development of miniaturized devices usable in a wide range of applications. Our research topics span from the development of nanotools for fluid handling, to scalable 2D and 3D micro-manufacturing of soft and hard materials, towards their implementation in small and accurate sensors and actuators. You will be working in a challenging international environment in one of the best technical universities of Europe, with access to the state-of-the art micro-nano fabrication facilities. You will participate in a large team with strong industrial and academic collaborations.    


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3mE19-107


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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