PhD position in gene eletrotransfer and electroporation

PhD position in gene eletrotransfer and electroporation

Published Deadline Location
11 Oct 7 Nov Delft

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We are seeking a highly motivated Ph.D. student with an an interest in cross-disciplinary research to join our "living soft matter group" at TU Delft.

Job description

  1. Are you inspired by the potential to use non-viral delivery of CRISPR-Cas complexes to reprogram mammalian cells for gene therapy?
  2. Are you fascinated by using novel microfluidics to deliver a precise number of genetic cargoes into primary human cells with minimal side effects?
  3. Are you eager to work in a high-end collaborative and interdisciplinary research environment related to gene delivery, biophysics and microfluidics?

New genome editing tools (based on CRISPR-Cas complexes) promise to repair cell functions at the source by fixing disease-causing mutations. However, they require the delivery of nucleic acids and/or gene editing enzymes directly into cells so they can reach the cell nucleus via safe and effective approaches. Electroporation has become a popular and safe non-viral delivery method by transient disruption of the membrane under electric pulses. This technology can in principle deliver genetic cargoes straight to the cytosol under ideal pulses conditions. However, electroporation can also induce substantial cell death from extensive permeabilization of a cell membrane or generate poor transfection efficiency when electroporation is not optimized. Often, electroporation protocols have been optimized based on trial and error apporaches, due to a lack of understanding on the underlying mechanisms of membrane proration and cargo translocations at the sub-cellular level. We recently elucidated that the actin cytoskeleton, a crosslinked network of filamentous proteins that lines the cell membrane, plays an important, hitherto unrecognized, role in the barrier function of the cell surface. The aim of this experimental PhD project is to unravel the biophysical mechanisms by which the actin cortex and the membrane together govern electro-transfer of genes and proteins across the living human cells. In this project, you will have the opportunity to work in a cutting-edge, fast-paced research environment, interact with researchers from many different disciplines, learn about fundamental biophysical and biological processes in living humans cells, and interact with world-class collaborators. This highly interdisciplinary project is a collaboration between the Boukany lab at the Chemical Engineering Department, and the Koenderink lab at the Bionanoscience department at TU Delft and Lediden University Medical center (LUMC).


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for candidates that meet the following criteria:

  • Master's degree in a relevant field such as chemical engineering, physics, electrical engineering, biophysics, bioengineering, materials science or similar;
  • Prior experience with microfluidics, fluorescence imaging, confocal imaging, electroporation or mammalian cell culture is highly desirable;
  • Creative, open-minded and proactive;
  • Excellent experimental and analytical skills;
  • Good team player;
  • Good English communication and writing skills.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4-year (2 employment contracts).

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 € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 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 as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!



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
  • Engineering
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD02873


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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