Postdoc project: Bioinspired Pumping in Organ-on-a-Chip using Artificial Cilia

Postdoc project: Bioinspired Pumping in Organ-on-a-Chip using Artificial Cilia

Published Deadline Location
16 Apr 19 May Eindhoven

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Job description

Problem: Current preclinical drug development models, like animal models, poorly predict the human response to the drugs. This has resulted in 90% of drug failure after the preclinical phase. There is a great need for newer models and Organ-on-a-chip (OoC) systems have shown promise. The heart of an OoC system is an 'Organ-chip': cm-sized devices with micro-channels and -chambers in which human cells can be grown to closely mimic human tissues in health and disease. However, there is a dilemma: OoC users and developers simply have to choose between either a system with physiologically relevant flow but not fit for standard operating procedures in the pharmaceutical industry, or a system that is compatible but less physiological because of the absence or inadequacy of the flow.

Our solution: TOMAC will try to address this issue by creating a novel miniaturized pump called 'Magnetic Artificial Cilia (MAC) pump': a chip-sized modular and tubeless pump that 1. eliminates manual handling and enables automation and higher throughput (compatible with pharmaceutical standard operating procedures), and 2. provides physiological flow for a range of organ models.

Aim of project: This project is part of an ERC-Proof of Concept proposal and aims to bring the technology from TRL 3 to TRL 4-5, meaning to bring the current technology available at Eindhoven University of Technology closer to a commercial product.

Job description: You will use the existing knowhow and innovate in engineering of the MAC pump to create an easy-to-use pump fit for pharmaceutical applications. This project is highly collaborative and has a focus to bring the developed technology to the market. You will collaborate with the existing team and will design, (micro)fabricate, and test a microfluidic system to validate the MAC pump. In addition, your project will involve simulation, flow measurements and analysis of the microfluidic system. During the project, you will collaborate with our industrial partners as well to test the prototype.

Embedding: The postdoc will be embedded in the Microsystems research section at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, headed and supervised by Jaap den Toonder. He will also closely work with Dr. Hossein Eslami Amirabadi and Laure van der Sanden, BSc (start-up team, ARTIC) who work on the commercialisation of the technology. The Microsystems group manages the Microfab/lab, a state-of-the-art micro fabrication facility that houses a range of micro manufacturing technologies - microfluidics technology is one of the main research pillars of the group. The project is a collaboration between the Microsystems group at TU/e and ARTIC, a spin-off start-up from TU/e.


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate with a (expected) PhD degree, and a background in mechanical, electrical or biomedical engineering, or physics. The ideal candidate would have experience in microfabrication, and microfluidics, and working in an interdisciplinary academic and industrial team. Experience with cell culture is a plus. We are looking for a motivated candidate who has a hands-on engineering attitude and enjoys solving problems to create an innovative prototype that fits industrial applications. Our dream candidate has an applied mindset and is someone who can help the start-up to develop a product. Other important personal skills include fluent spoken and written English, a proven ability to manage a project, to be able to collaborate with a large and multidisciplinary team, and to be self-driven.

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:
  • An exciting job in a dynamic work environment and a multidisciplinary consortium.
  • A 0.8 fte appointment for 15 months by Eindhoven University of Technology (
  • A gross monthly salary in line with the Collective Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • The possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • 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.
  • Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.


  • Postdoc
  • Engineering
  • max. 30.4 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • V35.7422


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

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De Rondom 70, 5612 AP, Eindhoven

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