PhD Position

36 hours a week
€ 3.017 - € 3.824

Closing date: May 30

Posted on

PhD Position in Bioactive Materials, Bioprinting Technology and Tissue Engineering: Bioprinting of human extracellular vesicles for tissue engineering applications.

Job description

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have emerged as powerful nanoparticles for tissue engineering due to their cargo of proteins, lipids, and genetic materials, with remarkable non-immunogenic and regenerative potential. The use of EVs has proven to be translatable to clinical trials, for example for knee osteoarthritis and bone tissue defects. However, a major challenge of the use of EVs for implants that is impairing its progress is the difficulty of EVs to be retained in the target tissue. To solve this problem, EVs have been encapsulated in injectable hydrogels to achieve increased local site retention and slower release. Yet, the lack of defined structure and porosity are weakening the EV functionality. To overcome these limitations, bioprinting of EV-based hydrogels with refined control on tissue architecture holds advantageous features. Just a few published studies have investigated the use of 3D bioprinted-EVs for tissue engineering applications and this is the core of this PhD project.

The project will be focused on: 1) material science for developing strategies for efficient EVs retention into a protein-based hydrogel system; 2) study of the mechano-structural properties of the target tissue for designing promising architectures for bioprinting; 3) bioprinting technology for manufacturing constructs with refined control on tissue architecture, while establishing gradients of EVs and microenvironments for EVs retention; 4) long cell culture experiments for allowing the EVs actuation on cells after bioprinting; and 5) Mechanical and biological evaluation of the constructs regarding safety, effectiveness, immunomodulation and tissue regeneration.

This PhD project is part of the Biofabrication & Bioprinting Lab (BBT/UMCG) mission, that is, to pave the way for bioprinting of human EVs for opening a new era of medical implants.

Working environment

The site of your research will be the Department of Biomaterials and Biomedical Technology (BBT/UMCG) with excellent guidance and facilities for scientific staff.The project will be carried out as part of an international and interdisciplinary team in a creative and collaborative research environment under supervision of dr. Monize Caiado Decarli at the department of Biomaterials & Biomedical Technology (BBT), based at the renowned University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and the University of Groningen (RuG).

What do we need

Our team is searching for a creative and highly motivated PhD candidate eager to learn new topics and tools and to navigate across disciplines in a multidisciplinary field. We seek an enthusiastic PhD student who will push developments in the field, develop scientific independence, and supervise B.Sc. and M.Sc. students.

In addition, you need:

  • Bachelor and Master’s degrees in chemical/ mechanical/ bioprocess/ biotechnology/ biomedical engineering degrees or equivalent.
  • Demonstrable research experience in material technology, design, and manufacturing techniques. The candidate must have experience in more than one of the above-mentioned topics.
  • Demonstrable research experience in cell culture.
  • Knowledge on the role of human proteins and EVs in the context of hydrogel development based on these bioactive compounds.
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English.
  • Proactivity, well-developed communication, and skills for working effectively in collaboration with colleagues in a team.

We are looking forward for you to joining our team!

The UMCG has a preventive Hepatitis B policy. The UMCG can provide you with the vaccination, should it be required for your position. In case of specific professions a ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’ is required.

What do we offer

We offer 1 fulltime PhD position within the Department of Biomaterials and Biomedical Technology (BBT/UMCG). The position is for four years. However, you will get a fulltime contract for 1 year, which will be extended for 3 years after positive evaluation. Extension of the contract will be based on sufficient progress and the expectation of a successful completion of the Ph.D. project. The salary will be € 3.017,- gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of € 3.824,- gross per month in the 4th year (PhD salary scale), based on a full-time appointment. In addition, the UMCG offers 8% holiday pay, and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. The conditions of employment comply with the

How to apply

The application should include a motivational letter, contact details of two academic references, curriculum vitae, and transcript of records (all the documents compiled in a maximum of 10 pages). Please use the the digital application form at the bottom of this page - only these will be processed.
You can apply until 30 May 2024.
Within half an hour after sending the digital application form you will receive an email- confirmation with further information.


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