PhD position on hematopoietic stem cell cultivation in a bioreactor

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 29 May 2022


This project is part of a consortium that aims to unravel hereditary anemias using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) for the purpose of gaining more fundamental knowledge and novel therapies. This consortium focuses on hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Mature blood cells are continuously replenished by HSCs to make sure that essential mechanisms remain functional, such as oxygen tranport and defence again pathogens. The production of new blood cells is impaired in a plethora of diseases. Blood transfusion is often the only therapeutic option and stem cell transplantation the only curative treatment. To obtain viable therapies, it is essential to build up know-how on large scale cultivation of iPSC-derived autologous HSC transplantation production. The TU Delft contributes to this consortium with two PhD positions of which one is described in this vacancy. The PhD position in this vacancy is experimental and will establish HSC production at lab-scale. The second PhD position is computational and focussed on employing computational fluid dynamic simulations to design bioreactor cultivations.

PhD project

The PhD project focuses on the development of bioreactor cultivation systems and protocols to standardize the expansion and differentiation of iPSCs to HSCs. This work will contribute to establish a viable therapeutic production process. Insights obtained in this project will be employed to better understand the effects of HSC cultivation and identify novel approaches to control the cultivation of HSCs. You will collaborate closely with Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation and Applikon Biotechnology BV.

Key focus points

  • Build a lab-scale bioreactor setup to cultivate HSCs from iPSCs (including cultivation training at Sanquin).
  • Optimize process parameters on lab-scale to ensure cultivation reproducibility and robustness.
  • Unravel the effects of critical process parameters during different cultivation stages.
  • Identify approaches to facilitate model-based cultivation control.

You will have the opportunity to further develop your scientific career by 1) gaining hands-on experience with cultivation scale-up for cell therapy modalities, 2) expanding your skill set with process optimization and control, and 3) the ability to apply creativity and conceptual thinking to answer pressing research questions for this novel bioprocess. In addition, you will participate in educational activities as a (MSc or BSc) course assistant and supervisor of BSc/MSc graduation projects.

Research group

The position will be in the research group Applied Analytical Technology and Data-Driven Bioprocess Design which is part of the Bioprocess Engineering section at the Department of Biotechnology. This group focusses on unravelling the connection between raw materials, process parameters, and product quality, and using that information to optimize or design for a wide variety of bioprocesses.

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