PhD Position Next-Generation Opto-Mechanical Microchips to Analyse Cell Biomechanics

PhD Position Next-Generation Opto-Mechanical Microchips to Analyse Cell Biomechanics

Published Deadline Location
23 Dec 12 Feb Delft

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Help drive medical advances through next-gen cell analysis by developing high-precision opto-mechanical microchips as a PhD candidate at TU Delft.

Job description

Challenge: Realize next-gen instruments to unravel cell bio-mechanics.
Change: Integrating opto-mechanical microchip sensors with advanced bio-materials.
Impact: Unravel cell behaviour for new medicine.


In-depth understanding of the mechanical behaviour of biological cells is essential to making medical advances. Enhancing this understanding requires next-generation instruments that measure the mechanical action and properties of living cells precisely. As a PhD candidate, you will work towards such a revolutionary instrument by combining our laboratories’ cutting-edge research into photonic and opto-mechanical microchips, advanced material engineering, and cell biomechanics.

Cell growth, proliferation and differentiation are complex dynamic processes that are guided by a host of factors, including mechanical cues like tissue geometry, surface properties and stiffness. Unravelling these complexities requires next-generation cell analysis instruments that can measure individual cells’ morphological, mechanical and molecular properties with ultra-high precision, resolution, and speed. The aim of your multidisciplinary research is to realise such an instrument based on microchip technology, by combining photonic microchips with opto-mechanical sensing, advanced biomaterials and 3D bioprinting. You will leverage your physics or engineering knowledge and skills in device design, fabrication, and in vitro testing on individual cells. With this microchip cell analysis instrument, you will contribute to unravelling cell biomechanics, which will drive the development of new medicine.

Your project is a collaboration of the Departments of Precision and Microsystems Engineering (PME) and Biomechanical Engineering (BE). Our laboratories, where you will be conducting your experiments, are well equipped with state-of-the-art fabrication and characterisation facilities including photonic, nanomechanical, biomechanical, and 3D bioprinting instruments. You will join our two teams of driven, internationally diverse PhD candidates, postdocs and Master students. Ours is an inspiring, friendly and a supportive environment, in which we collaborate closely and share ideas and knowledge. As a PhD student, you will be given the opportunity to coach and supervise Master students and you will receive all the training you need to evolve into an independent researcher and scientist. 


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


You are driven by your eagerness to harness your expertise in physics or engineering for experimental, multidisciplinary research. Working closely with your colleagues of different departments, you leverage your communication skills to achieve meaningful team results. And you are committed to coaching and interacting with students, while growing your own skills and knowledge.

You also have:

  • An MSc in Physics, Biophysics, Mechanical Engineering or another relevant engineering subject.
  • Expertise in, or an eagerness to learn all about integrated photonic microchips, advanced materials and cell mechanobiology.
  • Experience and knowledge of cell culturing, cell mechanics and bioprinting. If there are any gaps in your knowledge, you’re quick to learn.
  • A keen interest in design and modelling, fabrication and experimenting, preferably supported by Python programming skills.
  • An excellent command of English, as you’ll be working in an internationally diverse community.

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

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

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!


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? These videos will introduce you to some of our researchers and their work.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD03055


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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