PhD on Mechanobiology of fibrous tissue architecture

Updated: 1 day ago
Deadline: 30 Nov 2023

Irène Curie Fellowship



Biomedical Engineering

Reference number


Job description

We invite applications for a PhD position at the interface of mechanobiology, cell–matrix interactions, and cell biomechanics. The project will be carried out at the Department of Biomedical Engineering in TU Eindhoven under the supervision of Dr. Nicholas Kurniawan, in collaboration with the Institute of Computational Mechanics in TU Munich under the supervision of Dr. Christoph Meier, supported by the EuroTech PhD program and the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems.

Job Description

In the project, you will combine experimental approaches and computational modeling to dissect the mechanical interactions between cells and the fibrous extracellular matrix in soft tissues, as well as the consequences of these interactions at the intracellular, cellular, and tissue levels. You will work together with an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the interface between biophysics, mechanics, and bioengineering. Your research will be part of greater and exciting effort aimed at developing a growing in-vitro toolbox for functional tissue engineering, organ regeneration, and disease modeling.

Cells are mechanically active entities that can physically deform their environments. The cellular environment of soft tissues presents diverse and complex three-dimensional substratum that also acts as a mechanical resistance to cellular forces. The dynamic balance of forces and deformations of the cells and the fibrous extracellular matrix underlie a variety of tissue and organ functions and disorders. Tracing back these disorders to the mechanical interactions between cells and their environment, however, is challenging, due to the complex interplay between various factors.

The research will be conducted in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) under the supervision of Dr. Nicholas A. Kurniawan , in collaboration with the research team of Dr. Christoph Meier at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) . Dr. Kurniawan’s research strives to make an impact on healthcare through an improved understanding of cell–matrix physical interactions and (multi)cellular sensing. His team is embedded within the Soft Tissue Engineering and Mechanobiology (STEM) group headed by Prof. Carlijn V.C. Bouten . The STEM group concentrates on the study of disease progression as well as on the engineering of soft tissues, aiming at the replacement of diseased or malformed tissues and the development of in-vitro model systems of developing tissues. For the experimental part of the project, the researcher will have access to the Cell and Tissue Engineering laboratory, a state-of-the-art research infrastructure operating at the international forefront of the engineering of living tissues. The project will involve short stays at the collaborator’s group in the Institute for Computational Mechanics at TU Munich, led by Prof. Wolfgang Wall .

Job requirements

We are looking for enthusiastic and talented candidates to join our growing and ambitious research team. You should have:

  • A master’s degree (or an equivalent university degree) in (bio)physics, bioengineering, mechanical engineering, or a related field;
  • A research-oriented attitude;
  • Demonstrable experience with cell culture and hydrogels as well as cross-disciplinary research;
  • A research-oriented attitude;
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary team and effectively communicate scientific ideas, foster collaborations, and a capability for independent thinking;
  • Motivated to develop your teaching skills and coach students;
  • Fluent in spoken and written English (C1 level).
  • Affinity to and experience with computational mechanical modeling is a plus.

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. € 2,770.- and max. € 3,539.- gross per month).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process .
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Information and application

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. 

Curious to hear more about what it’s like as a PhD candidate at TU/e? Please view this video .


Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more?
Please contact Dr. Nicholas Kurniawan, associate professor: n.a.kurniawan[at] or +31 40 247 2347.

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact Sascha Sanchez, HR advisor, s.j.m.g.sanchez.van.oort[at] or +31 40 247 7310.

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page .


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button. The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • Academic transcript.
  • A digital copy of your MSc thesis (if applicable).

Only complete applications will be considered. Screening of applicants will start as soon as applications are received and will continue until the position is filled. The starting date of the position is flexible but not later than 1 February 2024.

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