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PhD vacancy: “3D in vitro modelling of human stem cell derived pacemaker cells”

Job description

A fully financed 4yr PhD position is available at the University of Twente (UT) in the Netherlands within the Faculty of Science and Technology in the Jonkheijm Laboratory of Biointerface Chemistry. Biological pacemakers, generated in vivo or ex vivo, are being explored as alternatives to electronic pacemakers because of common device-related complications. Making biological pacemakers requires exquisite knowledge of the cellular composition of the cardiac pacemaker and the regulatory network driving pacemaker cell differentiation and function. We aim to create a 3D in vitro microenvironment for essential functioning of sinoatrial node, the pacemaker tissue situated at the blood-entrance of the right atrium. We will study cell-material interactions under microfluidic control and use microfabrication techniques to prepare 3D arrangements of biomaterials with varying spacings, biofunctionalization, materials properties and dynamic responsivity. We will obtain expression profiles of adhering hPSC-derived atrial cardiomyocytes, fibroblasts and pacemaker cells on various cell-material types, with different viscosity and elasticity. We will use microfluidic organ on chip-devices with integrated electrodes for realtime monitoring of electrophysiological properties and use it to test the predictions made by the mathematical modeling. At the University you are part of the unparalleled possibilities at MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology and TechMed Centre for biomedical research. The project is part of an active collaborative research consortium with the Amsterdam UMC, Hubrecht Institute and Leiden University.

Your profile

We seek for a colleague with a background in biochemical or biomedical or biomaterial engineering. Candidates with experiences in 3D-printing, microscopy, hydrogel preparation are preferred, as core activities may involve the design and fabrication of microfluidic devices and hydrogel systems. Communicative skills are preferred as this is a collaborative project with other institutions.

Our offer

We offer a very challenging fulltime position in an inspiring multidisciplinary and international environment. The UT offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in which internationalization is an important part of the strategic agenda.

  • The gross monthly salary starts with € 2.395,- in the first year and increases to € 3.061,- in the fourth year of your employment;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • A solid pension scheme;
  • Minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment;
  • Professional and personal development programs;

Information and application

Please send your application via the ‘Apply now’ button, and include:

A motivation letter describing why you apply for this position, with a description of your research interests (no more than 1 A4), a copy of your passport, and academic transcripts from your Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees (with marks and courses) and a detailed CV.

The application deadline is 28 February 2021.

You are welcome to contact prof. dr. Pascal Jonkheijm on p.jonkheijm@utwente.nl for more information about the vacancy.


We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity and inclusion at our University. We encourage applications from all sections of society.


Applications will be treated on first come, first served basis.

About the organization

TNW Faculty (Faculty of Science & Technology)

The Faculty of Science & Technology (Technische Natuurwetenschappen, TNW) engages some 700 staff members and 2000 students in education and research on the cutting edge of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Our fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. As part of a people-first tech university that aims to shape society, individuals and connections, our faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad, and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. Our research has a high profile both in the Netherlands and internationally and is strengthened by the many young researchers working on innovative projects with as doctoral candidates and post-docs. It has been accommodated in three multidisciplinary UT research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centre and Digital Society Institute.

As an employer, the TNW Faculty offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With our Faculty, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.

University of Twente (UT)

University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology' we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT's departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

PhD vacancy: “3D in vitro modelling of human stem cell derived pacemaker cells”
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