PhD position, FHML / Institute MERLN / Division IBE (Instructive Biomaterials Engineering)

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 13 Dec 2020

PhD position, FHML / Institute MERLN / Division IBE (Instructive Biomaterials Engineering)
PhD position, FHML / Institute MERLN / Division IBE (Instructive Biomaterials Engineering)
Published Deadline Location
27 Nov 13 Dec Maastricht

PhD position Modelling embryo implantation in vitro using an endometrium-on-chip
Job description

We seek a PhD candidate to join our team in a collaboration between the MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine at Maastricht University (UM) and the Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC) in development and application of cellular and bioengineering technologies to enhance our understanding of the regulation of human embryo implantation.

Successful embryo implantation in the womb depends on the development of endometrium that is receptive to embryo adhesion, invasion and implantation. Despite advances in assisted reproductive technologies (ART), in case of in vitro fertilization (IVF), 30% of couples remain childless due to repeated implantation failure (RIF) of apparently healthy embryos. Technical and ethical barriers render existing research tools insufficient to decipher the multiple factors underlying RIF, resulting in inadequate treatment options. Within this project the PhD-candidate will develop an in vitro endometrium screening platform that recapitulates the first functional interactions between embryonic, trophoblast and endometrium tissue and in which the response to precise hormonal changes can be studied.

Embedded in a multidisciplinary team consisting of medical doctors, biologists and bioengineers, you will work towards the goal of identifying cues that co-regulate endometrium receptivity and embryo adhesion and invasion. You will study the dynamic aspects of embryo-endometrium communication, with the ultimate goal to investigate the origin of reproductive problems, to effectively treat infertility, and explore the embryonic origin of diseases.

  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2395—€3061 per month
  • Maastricht View on Google Maps

Maastricht University (UM)


Your tasks and responsibilities:
·        Culture and transfection of endometrium cells and embryonic / trophoblast stem cells
·        Bio-engineering the endometrium tissue niche in vitro
·        Co-design and development of on-chip platforms for the culture and characterization of 2D and 3D endometrial tissue models to study the crosstalk between endometrium and preimplantation embryonic cells and structures.

Qualifications and skills.
-        You have:
o   an MSc degree in biomedical sciences, bioengineering or cell biology;
o   experience with cell culture and recombinant DNA/molecular  genetic technology;
o   ability to design and rigorously execute experimental work, data analysis and dissemination of results;
o   affinity with micro-fabrication, micro-fluidics platforms and microscopy.

-        Moreover, you are:
o   a creative and independent thinker who can deepen a research question;
o   excellent communicator (oral and written English) and team worker. Knowledge of Dutch is not required;
o   enthusiastic and committed to the tasks.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Temporary employment for 4 years. The first year will be a probation period, after a positive assessment the position will be extended for another 3 years.

Your salary would be € 2.395,- gross per month in the first year up to € 3.061,- gross per month in the fourth year according to the PhD-candidate salary scale. Each year an evaluation will take place.

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 > Support > UM employees.

Maastricht University

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 18,000 students and 4,400 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.

MERLN Institute

Research at the MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine ( is focused on developing novel and breakthrough technologies to advance the field of repair and regeneration of functional tissues and organs.

The research will be in performed in close collaboration with the department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the Maastricht UMC+. At the special outpatient clinic data and endometrium will be collected for the project.

We are located in Maastricht, which itself is a warm and welcoming city. The founding city of the EU is an international hub with inhabitants from around the world. English is widely spoken, which has helped create a unique and vibrant international community. Thanks to Maastricht's central position in Europe, it is only a short drive or train trip away from Belgium, Germany, France and the rest of the Netherlands. The city is family-friendly and possesses an international school and several excellent primary schools.


We encourage you to apply when you feel prepared to take on challenging aims and are passionate to investigate processes in reproduction, morphogenesis, tissue patterning, niche interactions and embryo development. This project has an inherent collaborative character within an interdisciplinary team and will suit a highly ambitious candidate who thrives in a fast-paced, but supportive environment.

Additional information

Informal enquiries concerning the above position can be directed to

Application procedure

Applications including a letter of motivation, detailed curriculum vitae, list of publications, higher education certificates (incl. courses taken and marks achieved), and the name(s) of up to two people who can provide a recommendation (all documents preferably contained in a single PDF document) can be sent to .

Please mention also the vacancy number/job number (AT2020.336) and/or the project name in your application.

Maastricht University is committed to nurturing an inclusive culture and a welcoming atmosphere. This inclusiveness strategy has resulted in a very diverse representation of nationalities and cultures. We strongly believe that diversity (including, but not limited to nationality, age and gender) of the staff and student population will increase the quality of UM education & research. Fostering diversity and inclusivity creates an academic community where individual talents thrive, and values and differences are cherished. We strongly encourage you to apply if you are qualified for this position.

Apply via postal mail
Apply via postal mail

Don't forget to mention AcademicTransfer and the job number: AT2020.336 in your letter.

Back to the vacancy
View or Apply

Similar Positions