Postdoc Laser assisted microfabrication of polymeric nanostructures to unveil 3D neuronal growth cone mechanobiology via super-resolution microscopy

Postdoc Laser assisted microfabrication of polymeric nanostructures to unveil 3D neuronal growth cone mechanobiology via super-resolution microscopy

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6 May yesterday Delft

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Job description

The most employed approach by cell biologists to study cells is the “petri-dish” one: cells are simply cultured on top of smooth flat surfaces leading to the formation of unrealistic 2D cell monolayers not able to mimic a 3D spatial organization closer to the in-vivo tissue architecture. In view of this, during the last two decades, several efforts have been made to create engineered 3D cell microenvironments able to resemble the natural cellular niche. The mission of our research group is to develop multi-scale (nano-micro-meso) 3D fabrication paradigms to address open questions in cell biology. We are interested in particular in the design and fabrication of 3D biomimetic architectures by employing light-assisted additive manufacturing techniques (i.e. two-photon polymerization and stereolithography). We also develop multi-technique 3D imaging protocols combining conventional morphological characterization techniques (Scanning Electron Microscopy) and advanced 3D fluorescence imaging for unveiling cellular features. We exploit then these engineered microenvironments for studying the mechanobiology and differentiation mechanisms of primary/stem cells coming from different tissues (e.g. brain, bone, cancer).

This 2-years post-doctoral project will be focused on the mechanobiology of the neuronal growth cone, a mechanosensitive structure of neurons, and its interaction with 3D engineered biomaterials. The evolution of this bio-architecture, which motility is controlled by specialized nano-branches (filopodia) and their anchoring points (focal adhesions), was so far investigated almost exclusively on conventional 2D "bulky" glass slides, which are not representative of the brain tissue. The final goal will be to pioneer a reproducible 3D neuronal growth cone model by developing 3D printed sub-micrometric biomaterials able to simulate the geometrical and mechanical features in the brain. The successful applicant will therefore design and fabricate, by two-photon polymerization, 3D polymeric-nanostructures for the culture of neurons (collaboration with Daan Brinks' Lab at the Faculty of Applied Sciences-TNW) as well as characterize them via SEM, confocal and super-resolution microscopy (collaboration with Carlas Smith's Lab at the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering-3mE). The results of the project will pave the way for comparative studies involving diseased neurons (e.g. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). The starting date is 1st of October 2022.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


Strongly required:

  • PhD in Biomedical Engineering, Tissue Engineering, Micro- and Nano-fabrication or related areas
  • Solid experience with two-photon polymerization
  • Solid experience with fluorescence imaging, confocal imaging and/or super-resolution microscopy
  • Interest/expertise in neural cell-biomaterial interactions and mechanobiology
  • Excellent scientific and communication skills

Beneficial to have:

  • Experience with mechanical modeling (e.g. FEM)
  • Experience with cell culture
  • Strong writing skills and publication record

Conditions of employment

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (salary indication: € 3.561 - € 4.490 per month). The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount 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. An International Children's Centre offers childcare and there is an international primary school.

This Postdoc position is a temporary assignment for two year.

The starting date is 1st of October 2022.


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 Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

The Faculty of 3mE carries out pioneering research, leading to new fundamental insights and challenging applications in the field of mechanical engineering. From large-scale energy storage, medical instruments, control technology and robotics to smart materials, nanoscale structures and autonomous ships. The foundations and results of this research are reflected in outstanding, contemporary education, inspiring students and PhD candidates to become socially engaged and responsible engineers and scientists. The faculty of 3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with an international scope and high-tech lab facilities. Research and education focus on the design, manufacture, application and modification of products, materials, processes and mechanical devices, contributing to the development and growth of a sustainable society, as well as prosperity and welfare.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering. Do you want to experience working at our faculty? This video will introduce you to some of our researchers and their work.


  • Postdoc
  • Engineering
  • Doctorate
  • TUD02282


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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