PhD position on hematopoietic stem cell cultivation in a bioreactor

PhD position on hematopoietic stem cell cultivation in a bioreactor

Published Deadline Location
28 Apr 29 May Delft

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Job description


This project is part of a consortium that aims to unravel hereditary anemias using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) for the purpose of gaining more fundamental knowledge and novel therapies. This consortium focuses on hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Mature blood cells are continuously replenished by HSCs to make sure that essential mechanisms remain functional, such as oxygen tranport and defence again pathogens. The production of new blood cells is impaired in a plethora of diseases. Blood transfusion is often the only therapeutic option and stem cell transplantation the only curative treatment. To obtain viable therapies, it is essential to build up know-how on large scale cultivation of iPSC-derived autologous HSC transplantation production. The TU Delft contributes to this consortium with two PhD positions of which one is described in this vacancy. The PhD position in this vacancy is experimental and will establish HSC production at lab-scale. The second PhD position is computational and focussed on employing computational fluid dynamic simulations to design bioreactor cultivations.


PhD project

The PhD project focuses on the development of bioreactor cultivation systems and protocols to standardize the expansion and differentiation of iPSCs to HSCs. This work will contribute to establish a viable therapeutic production process. Insights obtained in this project will be employed to better understand the effects of HSC cultivation and identify novel approaches to control the cultivation of HSCs. You will collaborate closely with Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation and Applikon Biotechnology BV.


Key focus points

  • Build a lab-scale bioreactor setup to cultivate HSCs from iPSCs (including cultivation training at Sanquin).
  • Optimize process parameters on lab-scale to ensure cultivation reproducibility and robustness.
  • Unravel the effects of critical process parameters during different cultivation stages.
  • Identify approaches to facilitate model-based cultivation control.

You will have the opportunity to further develop your scientific career by 1) gaining hands-on experience with cultivation scale-up for cell therapy modalities, 2) expanding your skill set with process optimization and control, and 3) the ability to apply creativity and conceptual thinking to answer pressing research questions for this novel bioprocess. In addition, you will participate in educational activities as a (MSc or BSc) course assistant and supervisor of BSc/MSc graduation projects.


Research group

The position will be in the research group Applied Analytical Technology and Data-Driven Bioprocess Design which is part of the Bioprocess Engineering section at the Department of Biotechnology. This group focusses on unravelling the connection between raw materials, process parameters, and product quality, and using that information to optimize or design for a wide variety of bioprocesses.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


The ideal candidate is an ambitious, proactive and result-driven researcher. We are looking for the following requirements:

  • A Master’s degree in an area relevant to the subject, such as biotechnology, biochemical engineering, microbiology or biochemistry.
  • Recent fermentation/upstream processing experience is considered essential.
  • (Stem) cell cultivation experience is considered a plus.
  • Enthousiasm for building up a novel cultivation procedure.
  • Fluent in English (written and spoken).
  • Excellent communication/reporting skills and presentation capabilities.    

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2443 per month in the first year to € 3122 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact! 


Faculty Applied Sciences

With more than 1,000 employees, including 135 pioneering principal investigators, as well as a population of about 3,400 passionate students, the Faculty of Applied Sciences is an inspiring scientific ecosystem. Focusing on key enabling technologies, such as quantum- and nanotechnology, photonics, biotechnology, synthetic biology and materials for energy storage and conversion, our faculty aims to provide solutions to important problems of the 21st century. To that end, we train students in broad Bachelor's and specialist Master's programmes with a strong research component. Our scientists conduct ground-breaking fundamental and applied research in the fields of Life and Health Science & Technology, Nanoscience, Chemical Engineering, Radiation Science & Technology, and Engineering Physics. We are also training the next generation of high school teachers and science communicators.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Applied Sciences.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • €2443—€3122 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD02257


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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