PhD Position on hydrogels for cell encapsulation and soft tissue repair

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 10 Oct 2021

A fully financed 4yr PhD position at the interface of polymer chemistry, biomaterials synthesis, and biomedical sciences; is available at the Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Twente (UT) in the Netherlands. Our research group develops bioinspired hydrogels for cell encapsulation and soft tissue repair. Using tools from macromolecular chemistry, biomaterials chemistry and cell biology, we fabricate functional and responsive hydrogels that can be integrated with living cells and tissues. We are looking for a highly motivated, creative, dynamic, and enthusiastic researcher to strengthen our research team.

Within the biomaterials field, a prominent application of hydrogels is 3D cell encapsulation. These soft materials are used in vitro as culture models for drug testing or in vivo as injectable matrices for cell therapies. An exciting approach to control material's performance and processability towards a specific biomedical scenario consists in pre-programing the hydrogel's network at the molecular level, for example, by the rational choice of the crosslinking chemistry. The goal of this PhD is to develop a cell-encapsulating hydrogel platform that is bioadhesive, degradable, self-healable, and adaptable. The tailored properties are crucial to integrate these hydrogels with living entities. In this project, novel bioinspired chemistries for hydrogel crosslinking will be developed, as a strategy to control important materials properties like gelation rate, mechanical stability, cytocompatibility, and processability. These hydrogels will be applied for 3D cell culture and cell-materials interactions will be investigated.

At the University of Twente, you will become part of a dynamic, multidisciplinary and multinational team, with excellent prospects for the development of young researchers. The project will be supervised by Dr. Julieta Paez, and you will work at the Developmental BioEngineering group and the TechMed Centre for biomedical research.

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