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This PhD position is integral to the TOP-GUT MSCA DN project (details: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101119911 and https://topgut.eu/). This project recruits 11 PhD students and we are looking for you as our new motivated and dedicated PhD student. Your research focusses on the development of a 3D gut chip aimed at overcoming the constraints of current in vitro gut models. The project's central objective is to faithfully replicate the physiological attributes of the intestinal lumen using biofabrication methods, including the incorporation of a patterned collagen scaffold to emulate the architectural characteristics of human intestinal villi within a microfluidic device. This '3D gut chip' is envisioned to deliver a 3D tissue structure exposed to fluidic shear, thereby enhancing cell differentiation and physiological function, with a particular emphasis on ameliorating absorptive permeability and biotransformation processes.
Your primary objectives:
To achieve these objectives, advanced techniques in 3D cell culturing and biofabrication will be employed. Furthermore, state-of-the-art methodologies will be applied to functionally characterise intestinal cells, including analytical techniques and spatial imaging. Additionally, microfluidic systems and flow modeling will be harnessed to elucidate the biological handling and transformation of drugs and nutrients in the context of health and disease. It is noteworthy that within the TOP-GUT project, the inclusion of stromal compartments and immune cells will expand the scope of investigation.
In addition to the employment conditions from the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development, leave arrangements, sports and cultural schemes and you get discounts on software and other IT products. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow.
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Silvia Mihăilă's research group is part of the Utrecht Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS), Utrecht University. Her group specialises in developing advanced in vitro models that seamlessly combine biofabrication techniques and organoid cultures. The primary goal is to advance our comprehension of health and disease by harnessing microenvironmental cues, particularly through the manipulation of topographical and geometrical parameters, to fine-tune and optimise cellular processes, which can be pharmaceutically targeted. This multidisciplinary approach holds the promise of deepening our insights into the intricate mechanisms underlying health and disease.
Yvonne Vercoulen’s research group is part of the Center for Molecular Medicine, University Medical Center Utrecht. Dr. Vercoulen’s team investigates how cellular interactions and inflammatory signaling promote tissue disease, such as inflammation and cancer. We develop advanced imaging technology in primary tissues and make use of culture systems (oganoids) that mimic the human gut. The team fosters collaborations with expert clinicians in gastroenterology through research meetings for optimal exchange of knowledge, promoting clinical impact.
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