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

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. .......... (more)

PHD position: "stealth organis nanoparticles"

The immune response to biomaterials limits the desired bio-activity and the development of universal bio-functionalization strategies broadly applicable. In this ESR/PhD project, LipoCoat’s patented biomimetic nanometer-sized coating and coatings offered by the MSCA-ITN project partners will be introduced to different types of particles to shield the physico-chemical characteristics of the underlying nanoparticle surface from the immune system. The coated nanomaterials will be evaluated in in-vitro assays e.g. whole blood assays to study T-cell and macrophage (subtype) activation. We anticipate that a successful coating will homogenize the distinct immune response to the respective nanoparticles........... (more)