Modeling life at the cell-matrix interface, PhD candidate MERLN Institute

Modeling life at the cell-matrix interface, PhD candidate MERLN Institute

Published Deadline Location
23 May 9 Jun Maastricht

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PhD candidate position at the MERLN Institute: Modeling life at the cell-matrix interface
Do you want to work at the exciting crossroads of cell biology, imaging and computational modeling?

Job description

The MERLN Institute for Technology-inspired Regenerative Medicine at Maastricht University in the Netherlands invites applications for a PhD position.​

The PhD student will perform cutting-edge research in computational modeling methods applied to regenerative medicine and more specifically, to cell-matrix interactions. 

Project description:

  • Computational modeling of integrin signaling, cell-ECM interaction to inform the design of synthetic matrices
  • Parameter optimization and sensitivity analysis
  • Analysis and integration of various “materiomics” data for model calibration 

What we offer:

  • Computational ecosystem at Maastricht University: Institute for Data Science (IDS), Department of Knowledge Engineering (DKE) and Maastricht Centre for Systems Biology (MacsBio)
  • Excellent computational and experimental facilities to validate the in silico analyses and predictions in vitro/in vivo
  • Interdisciplinary environment within MERLN and the “Materials-driven regeneration (MDR)-consortium” 

Regenerative medicine (RM) holds the promise to cure many of what are now chronic patients, restoring health rather than protracting decline, bettering the lives of millions and at the same time preventing lifelong, expensive care processes: cure instead of care. The scientific community has made large steps in this direction over the past decade, however our understanding of the fundamentals of cell, tissue and organ regeneration and of how to stimulate and guide this with intelligent biomaterials in the human body is still in its infancy. In order to tackle these challenges, the “Materials-driven regeneration (MDR)-consortium” (see for more information) brings together an interdisciplinary team of excellent scientists at three leading institutes (ICMS at Eindhoven University of Technology, RMU at Utrecht University and MERLN at Maastricht University). The central goal of MDR’s research program is to investigate, design and use intelligent biomaterials that drive the functional regeneration of living tissues and organs under complex (patho)physiological conditions. 

To date, the RM field has focused on studying cell-biomaterial interactions. Materials properties such as elasticity, topography, hydrophobicity, and porosity have all been shown to influence cell fate, and the introduction of high-throughput combinatorial approaches is expediting research and decoupling the properties to further inform the design of biomaterials. However, in order to improve the design of synthetic biomaterials, it is crucial to understand the physiological cell-ECM interactions and how these influence cell behavior. This research project aims to use in silico models to simulate cell-ECM interactions, improve our fundamental understanding thereof and use the obtained knowledge to design improved synthetic matrices.   



Maastricht University (UM)


Requirements and key expertise

  • Master in data science, computer science, statistics, mathematics, bioinformatics, biomedical informatics, artificial intelligence, or equivalent
  • Expertise in computational modeling
  • Good programming skills (for example Matlab, Python, R)
  • Basic knowledge of image processing and analysis
  • Affinity with regenerative medicine
  • Excellent oral and written English communication

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 + 3 years.

The full-time position is offered for four years (1+3), with a yearly evaluation. The salary will be set in PhD salary scale of the Collective Labor Agreement of the Dutch Universities (€2.325,- gross per month in first year to €2.972,- last year). On top of this, there is an 8% holiday and an 8.3% year-end allowance. The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labor Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website > Support > UM employees


Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 18,000 students and 4,300 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.



Research at the MERLN Insitute for Technology-inspired Regenerative Medicine is focused on developing novel and challenging technologies to advance the field of tissue and organ repair and regeneration. Within MERLN, the laboratory for Cell Biology-inspired Tissue Engineering (cBITE, focuses on understanding and applying cell biological principles in the field of biomedical engineering, in particular in the regeneration of bone tissue.


  • PhD positions
  • Natural Sciences
  • 36—38 hours per week
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • University Graduate
  • AT2018.210


Maastricht University (UM)

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Universiteitssingel 40, 6229 GR, Maastricht

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