PhD position - Cell Line Engineering for Cellular Agriculture

PhD position - Cell Line Engineering for Cellular Agriculture

Published Deadline Location
13 May tomorrow Delft
Background
Cellular Agriculture (CA) is a new concept in biotechnology that aims to produce animal protein through bioprocessing. This includes the production of muscle cells and tissue from animal stem cells (rather than from whole animals), as well as the use of precision fermentation for microbial production of animal protein, such as dairy alternatives. However, development of sustainable, cost-effective processes for cellular agriculture at the huge scale required to meet a substantial fraction of anticipated global meat demands raises interesting scientific and technological challenges. To address these challenges, the Cellular Agriculture Netherlands Foundation (CAN - a consortium of public and private partners in the field) will boost the Dutch cellular agriculture ecosystems along the workflows Education, Research, Scale up, and Public outreach. This initiative is supported by a €60M impulse from the National Growth Fund program. Within this scope, TU Delft will focus on the scientific and technological challenges associated with large-scale production of cultivated meat and precision fermentation.

Job description

PhD Research project

As part of this new and exciting research program at TU Delft, we are seeking to hire a PhD student to contribute to the development of CA, focusing on the engineering of mammalian cell lines with desirable properties for upscaled cultivated meat production. Such properties include immortalisation, capacity for extreme-density cultivation, resistance to cellular stresses (for example, shear stress induced by agitation), and proliferation in minimal media (with respect to both growth factors, and basic nutrient sources).

 

The PhD candidate will design and optimise strategies for the engineering of such phenotypes into mammalian cells from agriculturally relevant species, using a variety of genetic modification and gene editing tools, including CRISPR/Cas9. Initial projects might include the development of an immortal and apoptosis-resistant muscle cell line. Attention will be paid to the methods used, to ensure industry-relevance in a complex regulatory landscape. For example, precision nuclease-, base- and prime-editing techniques will be employed where appropriate. The candidate will also combine gene edits/modifications to produce candidate cell lines for subsequent screening in upscaled culture systems, in collaboration with other members of the group and department. This work will contribute to the development of integral process concepts for CA products based on mammalian cell culture.

Key focus points:

  • Gene editing for the engineering of new or improved phenotypes into a variety of mammalian cell lines.
  • Characterization of novel cell lines with a variety of techniques including cell-based assays, microscopy and flow cytometry.
  • Collaboration with Bioprocess Engineers for the testing of promising cell lines in upscaled culture systems.

You will have the opportunity to further develop your scientific career by 1) becoming an expert in cutting edge genetic modification and gene editing techniques, 2) expanding your skill set with various cell biological techniques, and 3) honing the ability to apply creativity and conceptual thinking to answer pressing research questions. In addition, you will participate in educational activities and gain experience as a supervisor of BSc/MSc research projects.

 

Research group

This position will be embedded in the Bioprocess Engineering section at the Department of Biotechnology, within the research group of Joshua Flack (Cellular Engineering). Close collaboration is envisaged with other groups within the BPE section, including Marieke Klijn (Data-driven Bioprocess Development) and Marcel Ottens (Bioprocess Engineering). The Bioprocess Engineering section has mammalian cell culture, advanced bioprocess monitoring, fermentation and process design expertise present (USP & DSP). The research is part of the national NGF CA program.

 

Preferred start date: September 2024

Specifications

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

Requirements

The ideal candidate will be an ambitious, proactive, reflective, and results-driven researcher. We are looking for the following:

  • MSc degree in a field relevant to the subject, such as Cell Biology, Biochemistry or Biochemical Engineering.
  • Prior laboratory experience with mammalian cell culture is essential.
  • Experience with standard molecular biology and cloning techniques is essential.
  • Experience with gene editing techniques (such as CRISPR/Cas9) is highly desirable.
  • A strong interest in cellular agriculture/cultivated meat is essential, although specific prior experience in this area is not required.
  • This is a new line of research at TU Delft, and the candidate should feel excited to establish new methodologies, protocols and readouts within the research group.
  • Strong teamwork skills and confidence to take the lead in collaborations.
  • Fluency in English (written and spoken).
  • Strong communication/reporting and presentation skills

[insert requirements from form here, please make sure to make sure that the text below about language requirements is NOT removed]

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.

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 € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 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 a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. 

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Employer

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!

Department

Faculty Applied Sciences

With more than 1,100 employees, including 150 pioneering principal investigators, as well as a population of about 3,600 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 educate innovative 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.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Applied Sciences .

The position is available in the Department of Biotechnology, Biotechnology (tudelft.nl)

Additional information

Only for more information about this vacancy, please contact Assistant Professor Joshua Flack, group leader Bioprocess Engineering, e-mail address is J.E.Flack@tudelft.nl

Only for more information about the application procedure, please contact Ms. Kawieta Ramautar, Management Assistant, per e-mail k.g.ramautar@tudelft.nl

**It is our aim to have the interviews on 28 June, 5, 8 and 9 July 2024.

Specifications

  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD05345

Employer

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

Learn more about this employer

Location

Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 15 June 2024 via the application button and upload only your motivation letter and CV.

  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Applying for an exemption for specific research and educational areas is an obligatory part of the selection procedure for this vacancy. This exemption must be obtained from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) before an employment contract is agreed upon. Click here for more information.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

Application procedure

Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 15 June 2024 via the application button and upload only your motivation letter and CV.

  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Applying for an exemption for specific research and educational areas is an obligatory part of the selection procedure for this vacancy. This exemption must be obtained from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) before an employment contract is agreed upon. Click here for more information.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

Make sure to apply no later than 15 Jun 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).