Are you eager to develop methods to grow cartilage organoids from human induced pluripotent stem cells?
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Osteoarthritis (OA) is a painful debilitating joint disease that affects 250 million people worldwide. It is characterized by progressive degeneration of articular cartilage. Unfortunately, there are currently no treatment options that stop or reverse OA. However, regenerative tissue engineering is a promising strategy to restore this progressively damaged articular tissue. Within LS-NeoCarE, a National Science Agenda Research by Consortia (NWA-ORC) project funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), we aim to create large-scale neocartilage implants based on a plentiful stem cell-based source of chondroprogenitors to produce cell and matrix micro-tissues, or so-called organoids, that are assembled into a tissue.
In this PhD research, we will first develop methods to generate large volumes of cartilage organoids from human induced chondro-progenitor cells (hiCPCs) modified for allogeneic use. Currently, we use animal derived additives to grow cartilage organoids from mature chondrocytes. In this project, we will adapt these methods for use with progenitor cells. We will explore culture conditions and growth factor additives as well as develop a synthetic replacement for the animal product. Finally, together with consortia partners, we will combine the organoids with unique hydrogels and biofabrication methods to engineer large-scale articular cartilage. The development will be based on elucidating a deeper mechanobiological understanding of chondrocyte-matrix interactions and self-assembly processes stimulated by the physicochemical environment. Both conventional and custom, molecular biological, biochemical, histological and physical characterization methods will be used to assess organoids as well as their use in tissue engineered constructs.
The PhD candidate will contribute to a multi-disciplinary team of biomedical engineers and scientists, molecular biologists and orthopaedic surgeons, from the student to senior level. An educational and professional development program is offered to all PhD candidates. You will also be involved in teaching courses, as well as contribute to the supervision of bachelor and master students. Based on your research, you will be expected to present at conferences, publish in scientific journals and write a doctoral dissertation.
The research will be mainly conducted within the Orthopaedic Biomechanics (OPB) group which cover diverse topics in bone, intervertebral disc and tendons/ligaments, as well as articular cartilage. The group is well known for their multidisciplinary approach combining tissue mechanics, mechanobiology, and biomaterial mechanics. They utilize, in vitro, ex vivo and computational models to understand tissue conditions in disease and for regenerative engineering, operating at the international forefront of engineering of living, load-bearing tissues.
The OPB group is part of the Regenerative Materials and Engineering cluster of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology. The department offers Bachelors and Masters education programs who are integrally linked to its research areas ranging across Chemical Biology, Biosensing, Biomaterials, Biomechanics Tissue Engineering, Computational Biology, Biomedical Imaging and Modelling, with 800+ students and 200+ academic staff. The university is open and inclusive with short communication lines. The people are curious, collaborative, and strive for excellence in research and education at an internationally renowned level. Our lively campus community facilitates connections between staff and students, in an open, friendly, vibrant atmosphere that welcomes and inspires.
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
We are accepting applications from enthusiastic and highly talented candidates who meet the following requirements:
- A MSc degree (or equivalent) in biomedical engineering/science or a comparable domain.
- Experience and knowledge of tissue engineering is appreciated.
- A research-oriented attitude.
- Ability to work in a team and with the industrial partners.
- Fluent in spoken and written English.
Conditions of employment
We offer a meaningful job in a dynamic, stimulating and ambitious team environment.
- A full-time employment for four years, with intermediate evaluation after nine months.
- A gross monthly salary and benefits in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
- Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
- A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
- High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
- An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
- An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
- A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.
Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.