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At the Department of Instructive Biomaterials Engineering of the MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine at Maastricht University, and within the framework of the Materials-Driven Regeneration (MDR) program, we currently have a vacancy for a postdoc in the field of microfluidic three-dimensional (3D) cell culture platforms.
For developing regenerative medicine-based therapies, many in vitro research studies still rely on conventional, two-dimensional (2D) culture systems, which poorly recapitulate the complexity of the 3D (micro)environment of cells and tissues in vivo. Recent developments in 3D culture models rely on self-organization of (stem) cells towards 3D multicellular constructs such as organoids, with a complex tissue architecture and structure, and the ability to reflect the biological functions of tissues. Equipping such culture models with a controlled microenvironment for tissue development and advanced analytical/screening tools is one of the next foreseen challenges in this area. Within this postdoc project, we plan to develop a microfluidic 3D cell culture platform that allows the controlled formation and growth of 3D multicellular (polarized) assemblies such as organoids. The microfabricated culture platform should allow the controlled provision of gradient patterns of soluble factors/biomolecules, and for throughput screening and high-content imaging.
About the MDR program:
The Research Center for MDR (https://mdrresearch.nl/) is a partnership between Eindhoven University of Technology, Maastricht University and Utrecht University, University Medical Center Utrecht and the Hubrecht Institute. This consortium was brought together to advance tissue and organ regeneration approaches with the use of instructive biomaterials and funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of The Netherlands in the framework of the Gravitation program. The interdisciplinary team of researchers within the MDR consortium aims to focus on the research and development of new, intelligent materials that stimulate the regeneration of damaged or diseased tissues and organs.
You should hold a(n) MSc degree in bio(medical) engineering or similar, or in engineering with a corresponding major, and hold or about to obtain a PhD degree in (bio)microfluidics or similar. Strong interest, sound knowledge/understanding and hands-on experience in computer-aided design (CAD), fabrication (for example by polymer micromolding/‑replication and ‑joining) and characterization of microfluidic devices or bioreactors are essential for a successful conduction of the project. Finite element method (FEM; for example COMSOL Multiphysics®) skills, including computational fluid dynamics (CFD), having already worked in a micro-/nanofabrication clean room environment, and familiarity with 3D culture models is a plus. Good command of scientific English in terms of listening, speaking, reading and writing is indispensable. Experience with writing high-impact scientific papers must be demonstrated.
What we offer:
We offer an interdisciplinary and collaborative postdoc project embedded into a highly international institute, which is one of the worldwide leading research institutions in the tissue regeneration field. Our modern laboratories include labs for materials synthesis and characterization, biofabrication/‑printing, (clean room) micro-/nanofabrication, microfluidics, cell culture, histology, molecular biology, imaging/microscopy, all provided with latest state-of-the-art equipment.
Fixed-term contract: 1 year, with the possibility of extension for 2 years.
The position is temporary for the duration of 1 year, with option for extension with 2 years. Depending on experience and qualification, the gross monthly salary is scale 10 (max. € 4.402,-).
The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website www.maastrichtuniversity.nl > Support > UM employees.
Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 18,000 students and 4,400 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.
The researcher will be embedded in the Department of Instructive Biomaterials Engineering (IBE) at the MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine. The research at MERLN (https://merlninstitute.com/) is focused on developing innovative and breakthrough technologies to advance the field of functional repair and regeneration of tissues and organs. The research at IBE (https://merlninstitute.com/discover-merln/departments-and-groups/ibe-department) focuses on the development of smart biomaterials for regenerative medicine.
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