PhD position on Engineering Brain-on-chip for AI computing

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 29 May 2022

Department(s)

Mechanical Engineering


Institutes and others

EAISI - Eindhoven Artificial Intelligence Systems Institute


Reference number

V35.5555


Job description

The Eindhoven Artificial Intelligence Systems Institute (EAISI) is funding 2 PhD positions for the highly innovative BayesBrain project, in collaboration with the departments of

  • Mechanical Engineering,           
  • Biomedical Engineering,
  • Electrical Engineering, and
  • Mathematics and Computer Science

To investigate the crosstalk between cells and computers, we will develop an interface, which facilitates the connection between a neural cell network and a machine learning algorithm. The announced PhD position here focuses on devising the hardware of a compartmentalized microfluidic chip on microelectrode arrays (MEAs). Specially designed MEAs will form the interface to the in-silico control agents for the purpose of building a hybrid AI computer. For this position, relevant background knowledge and hands-on skills on neural cell culture, integrated microfluidics, sensors & actuators (MEA technology), and fast and high-quality data acquisition systems is essential. The successful candidate will critically review the state of the art (high-density versus low-density MEA tech) and creatively design a simple-to-use microfluidic platform that will have a central role in building the hard-ware of the hybrid AI system of connected neural circuits. We wished to address circuits and ideally individually cells in the neurocircuits by voltage or current injection. Furthermore, the techniques developed will have a wider applicability in material and toxicity screening, drug development and personalized medicine and the discovery of novel neuro-therapeutic interventions. The successful candidate will be hosted at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and co-supervised by the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

The successful candidate is proficient and enthusiastic about the science and technology of microfabrication and working with cell cultures. It is expected that candidates have completed a Bachelor and Master study with high relevance to both this topics with a strong focus in experimental skills.

The project
Thanks to the theoretical success of AI concepts in the last century, computational hardware allows us now to perform complex tasks. However, these capabilities come at a very high computational cost due to a vast amount of energy consumption in the purely electrically designed circuitries. On the other hand, our brain performs complex tasks in a highly efficient manner. Taking the free energy minimization of brain as our inspiration, we aim for performing complex tasks by the combined use of neurocircuit biology and AI. Thus, the Ph.D. candidate will contribute to the hardware development of a microfluidic brain-on-chip interface. For this novel microfluidic brain-on-chip, a critical reflection on engineered biomaterials and electrically embedded microfluidic platforms and their fabrication methods, integrated multi electrode array approaches, as well as fast and high-quality data acquisition systems are required. In this project, the candidate will design innovative ways to create the microfluidic platform, build the system and culture neuronal cell networks themselves.


Job requirements
  • A master’s degree (or an equivalent university degree) in Mechanical Engineering, Bioengineering, Biotechnology, Materials Engineering, with strong affinity in microfabrication and in vitro culture, with excellent grades. 
  • Proven hands-on experience with microscopy techniques and cell culture, preferable neurons
  • Prior experience specifically with photolithography, mechanics of thin films, and metrology techniques is a plus
  • A research-oriented demeanor
  • Ability and aspiration to work in a multi-disciplinary team, combining mechanics, material science, biology, neuroscience, and probabilistic machine learning
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English
  • Proven team work ability

Candidates with prior experience in organ-on-chip technology and relevant fabrication techniques specifically at the nano- to sub-100 micrometer length scale in devising integrated chips and according metrology techniques are highly encouraged to apply.


Conditions of employment
  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months.
  • To develop your teaching skills, you will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will make a Training and Supervision plan and you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program ).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • Should you come from abroad and comply with certain conditions, you can make use of the so-called ‘30% facility’, which permits you not to pay tax on 30% of your salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.

Information and application

More information

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact
dr. Regina Luttge, r.luttge[at]tue.nl or +31 40 247 5235.
To obtain information about dr. Burcu Gumuscu’s lab, please visit https://gumuscuslab.com/ .

For information about terms of employment, click here or contact HRServices.gemini[at]tue.nl.

Please visit www.tue.nl/jobs to find out more about working at TU/e!

Application

We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page.
The application should include a:

  • a cover letter (including 2 references)
  • a motivation letter explaining your suitability for the position
  • a detailed curriculum vitae
  • a written scientific report in English (MSc thesis, traineeship report or scientific paper)
  • copies of diplomas with course grades (transcripts)

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it.

We do not respond to applications that are sent to us in a different way.

Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary please combine files.


View or Apply

Similar Positions