PostDoc Position | From nano to micro & from in vitro to in silico: Linking adhesion ligand patterns to cell function

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 21 Feb 2023

PostDoc Position | From nano to micro & from in vitro to in silico: Linking adhesion ligand patterns to cell function
PostDoc Position | From nano to micro & from in vitro to in silico: Linking adhesion ligand patterns to cell function
Published Deadline Location
7 Feb 21 Feb Maastricht

Job description

The MERLN Institute for Technology-inspired Regenerative Medicine at Maastricht University in the Netherlands invites applications for a  postdoc (PD) position. The researcher will perform a cutting-edge interdisciplinary research project to explore the relation between nanoscale ligand organization (i.e. composition and spatial distribution) and microscale cell response under the joint supervision of dr. A. Carlier (expertise in in silico modeling) and dr. S. Van Rijt (expertise in nanoparticle synthesis and characterization). Work performed will include nanoparticle synthesis and characterization, in vitro cell culture, imaging and computational modeling.

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. 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. However, in order to improve the design of synthetic biomaterials, it is crucial to understand the relation between integrin organization and cell response as integrins are the primary family of receptors responsible for cell adhesion to native or synthetic matrix. This research project aims to use an integrated in vitro-in silico approach to generate nanoscale ligand patterns using functionalized nanoparticles, analyze the corresponding cell responses and correlate those measures to simulations of integrin binding and clustering during cell adhesion using a stochastic in silico model. As such, this project aims to improve our fundamental understanding of integrin organization and downstream signaling, which will enable new directions for future scaffold and biomaterial design.

Project description:

  • Nanoparticle synthesis, surface functionalization and characterization
  • Development of 2D nanoparticle based films and characterization
  • In vitro work including cell culture assays and fluorescent microscopy imaging,
  • In silico modeling of integrin-ligand binding and clustering
  • Analysis and integration of in vitro data for model calibration
  • Parameter optimization and sensitivity analysis

What we offer:

  • Excellent computational and experimental facilities to validate the in silico analyses and predictions in vitro
  • Interdisciplinary environment within MERLN and the “Materials-driven regeneration (MDR)-consortium”

Project embedding:

The project will be coordinated by the MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine ( ) as part of the “Materials-driven regeneration (MDR)-consortium” (see for more information) which 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.

  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2960—€4670 per month
  • Maastricht View on Google Maps

Maastricht University (UM)


Requirements and key expertise

  • Master’s or PhD degree in biomedical engineering, materials engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, (bio)physics, physics, or equivalent
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently as well as in a team
  • Experience with nanomaterial synthesis is preferred
  • Programming skills (for example Comsol, Matlab, Python, R, VCell) are a plus
  • Affinity with the field of regenerative medicine
  • Good oral and written English communication

Conditions of employment

Fixed -term contract: 1 year. The position is temporary for the duration of the project (12 months).

Depending on experience and qualification, the gross monthly salary is scale 10 (max. € 4.670), based on a full-time appointment. An 8% holiday and an 8.3% year-end allowance is also provided.

The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website  > About UM > Working at UM.

Maastricht University (UM)

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 22,000 students and 5,000 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.
For more information, visit .

Maastricht is the southernmost city in the Netherlands, and is the capital of the province of Limburg. Situated on the Maas River, within walking distance of Belgium and cycling distance of Germany, it claims to be the oldest city in the Netherlands (a claim it shares with Nijmegen). A great place to spend some time, it contains some magnificent buildings and culture, taking the form of plenty of old houses and buildings, lovely cathedrals and a spectacularly cobblestoned town center. The city is also well known for its fine cuisine, excellent shops and multicultural atmosphere.


The MERLN Institute for Technology-inspired Regenerative Medicine focuses on developing novel and challenging technologies to advance the field of tissue and organ repair and regeneration through, amongst others, the development of high-throughput material platforms to screen cell-biomaterial interactions. MERLN consists of an interdisciplinary team of researchers including fields as (stem cell) biology, materials engineering, chemistry, micro/nanofabrication, additive manufacturing, etc. The scientists at MERLN have an extensive network of collaborators within research institutions in and outside the Netherlands as well as with a number of biomedical companies, including their own spin-off companies, as entrepreneurship is highly fostered.

Additional information

For more detailed information you can contact dr. A. Carlier: .

To apply at this vacancy, press the button ‘apply now’ to see the application procedure.

Working at Maastricht University

Maastricht University distinguishes itself with its innovative education model, international character and multidisciplinary approach to research and education.

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Application procedure

The application should contain:

  • Cover letter with motivation, fit and preferred starting date
  • CV
  • Contact information of two references

Send your application, stating the vacancy number AT2023.60, by email to:

Maastricht University is committed to promoting and nurturing a diverse and inclusive community. We believe that diversity in our staff and student population contributes to the quality of research and education at UM, and strive to enable this through inclusive policies and innovative projects led by teams of staff and students. We encourage you to apply for this position.

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