Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne – EPFL, Switzerland.
Laboratory of Stem Cell Bioengineering – LSCB (PI: Professor Matthias Lutolf)
Development of chemically defined hydrogels for next-generation Organ-on-a-chip systems
The advertised subproject will be carried out by a PhD student (“Early-stage Researcher”) at EPFL over a period of 36 months. The recruited researcher will work in the Laboratory of Stem Cell Bioengineering headed by Prof. Matthias Lutolf.
She/he will develop novel chemically defined and highly tuneable hydrogels suitable for organoid culture and incorporation in advanced gut-on-chip models. The main tasks of the project are:
- to develop synthetic 3D hydrogels that are suitable for the derivation of ‘vascularized’ gastro-intestinal organoids. A particular initial focus is on the adaptation of existing hydrogel crosslinking mechanisms in order to facilitate more extensive in vitro morphogenetic processes.
- to integrate these smart 3D matrices in a gut-on-a-chip model.
Secondments are planned as follows:
- UPM – The Biofore Company, Finland for 2 months;
- Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), The Netherlands for 2 months.
This subproject is fully funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network „EUROoC“ (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018). The monthly salary consists of a living allowance, mobility allowance and family allowance (if applicable). Please visit the EC MSCA webpage for more information. The recruited researcher will have the opportunity to work as part of an international, interdisciplinary team of 15 PhD students, based at universities and industrial firms throughout Europe. She/he will gain a unique skill-set comprising microfabrication, biomaterial science and stem cell differentiation, as well as an overview of different organ-on-a-chip technologies and their implementation at industrial level. She/he is expected to finish the project with a PhD thesis and to disseminate the results through patents (if applicable), publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at international conferences.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Networks (ETNs) are joint research and training projects funded by the European Union. Funding is provided for PhD students from both inside and outside Europe to carry out individual project work in a European country other than their own.
The European training network “EUROoC” is made up of 11 core and 10 associate partners from academia, industry and regulatory agencies, coordinated by Fraunhofer IGB. The network will recruit a total of 15 PhD students for project work lasting for 36 months.
Organ-on-a-Chip (OoC) technology is advancing at breath taking pace due to its potential impact in drug development and personalised treatments of disease. New researchers entering this field must be equipped with a multidisciplinary background ranging from biology to microfluidic chip engineering. EUROoC offers the first complete and coherent European training program on OoC by gathering multidisciplinary participants (biologists, physicists, chemists, engineers) in a multi-sectoral network composed of six companies, three regulation entities and twelve academic institutions.
EUROoC will qualify the next generation of interdisciplinary scientists for all aspects of OoC development and utilisation, including understanding of commercialisation pathways and regulatory aspects. EUROoC furthermore comprises a collection of innovative research projects addressing the development of advanced OoC systems with higher physiological significance going beyond current in vitro testing.
Qualifications / experience
- Early-stage researcher: a researcher without a PhD, who is in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of her/his research career, measured from the date when she/he obtained the degree, which would formally entitle her/him to embark on a doctorate.
- Graduation in the field of chemical engineering, chemistry, bioengineering or biotechnology – M.Sc. preferred.
- Basic knowledge of polymer chemistry, organic synthesis, hydrogel synthesis and characterization, cell culture.
- Practical experience of 3D stem cell culture & differentiation and (fluorescence) microscopy is a plus.
- Basic knowledge of data analysis and Microsoft Office.
- Well-structured and autonomous working style, good organizational and communication skills.
- Fluency in written and spoken English is a must, French is a plus.
The applicant must not have resided or carried out her/his main activity (work, studies etc.) in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the past three years.
How to apply
Please send your CV, a half-page summary of master/diploma thesis, a letter of motivation (up to 2 pages) which states your research experience and interests, and names and contact information of at least two academic referees who could write a letter of recommendation by e-mail to the following address, quoting the reference „EUROoC-IGB-ESR9“:EUROoC@igb.fraunhofer.de
For questions, please contact:
Prof. Matthias Lutolf:
Assessment of applications starts 31st January 2019, applications are possible until 17th February 2019.
Interviews are planned for February/ March 2019.