PhD student

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 10 Jan 2023

Position: PhD student

ReWIRE is set up to equip next-generation scientists with unique skills to develop ground-breaking therapeutic solutions for patients with paralysis. The specific transdisciplinary and translational aspects will fill a gap in the traditional education programs and foster R&D competence in the field of medical products and therapies focused on spinal cord injury (SCI). The first objective is to establish an international, interdisciplinary, and intersectoral educational network that develops and links high-tech routes into new personalized, combinatorial approaches to rewire the spinal cord. The second objective is to build a clinical data platform for SCI. The third objective is to position Europe at the forefront of therapy for SCI. ReWIRE follows an international, inter­dis­ciplinary, and intersectoral approach organized in 8 and 7 inter­wo­ven work and training packages, respectively.

The training and research parts are focused on developing the next generation specialists and technologies in the European Research Area (ERA) to conform to the rapidly evolving technologies for individualized therapies to treat SCI. Specifically, ReWIRE aims to establish meaningful long-term and autonomous functional recovery by combining axonal regrowth and reconnection with new neuronal circuits, controlled by the brain and boosted by neuromodulation. The overall goal is to translate combinatorial SCI therapies from bench to bedside in a timely manner, thereby improving the quality of life and reducing societal burden. To regenerate the spinal cord, axons must be reactivated and stimulated, chemo-attracted, supported, and guided across the lesion site and into the spared tissue. Plasticity of spared connections must be generated in combination with functional new connections via the formation of terminal-like contacts, exhibiting synaptic markers and re-establishing electrophysiological conduction capacity across the lesion. The convergent approach will lead to combinatorial therapies to repair the spinal cord after injury, which, to date, has not been successful using individual therapies.

Partners of ReWIRE: DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials (Aachen); Biosynth (Netherlands); Technische Universität Hamburg (Germany); Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands); ONWARD Medical (Netherlands); Clinatec (France); Scuola Superiore Sant’ Anna Pisa (Italy); Wearable Robotics (Italy); Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (Switzerland); Zürich University (Switzerland); Imperial College London (UK); King’s College London (UK)

Project Start: 1st January 2023

Country: Netherlands

Company/ University Institute: Biosynth (Lelystad, Netherlands) – DWI Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials (Aachen, Germany)

Principal Investigator: Peter Timmerman (PhD, CSO)


The main objective is to develop high-affinity CLIPSTM peptides that mimic functions of cell adhesive proteins, like laminins, to support in vitro and in vivo cell and nerve attachment and migration. Cell-adhesive peptides will be identified using CLIPSTM phage display, a platform that allows screening of billions of constrained peptides against protein targets that are present on nerve cells. This may either be achieved using recombinant target proteins or whole cells. After phage-selection, potential binders will be chemically re-synthesized and screened using ELISA and/or SPR-like technologies for measuring target-affinities specific binder. Once potent cell-adhesive peptides are identified these will be further chemically modified and coupled to biomaterial bridges and electrodes to improve their interaction with the tissue. Finally, their efficacy and therapeutic effects will be investigated in vitro and in vivo.

Expertise : A scientific background in either molecular biology, biotechnology, biochemistry or in chemistry, chemical biology or chemical engineering is required. Ideally, the candidate has substantial experience with the handling of cells and/or peptide chemistry and expresses serious interest/curiosity in both chemistry and biology.

The candidate should hold a MSc-degree in the above-mentioned backgrounds (or take it before January 2023) and have interest in an R&D career in biomaterials for biomedical applications. The candidate is not allowed to have been employed in the Netherlands for a period longer than 6 months prior to the start of the project.

The candidate will be based in Lelystad, the Netherlands.

The candidate will receive a gross monthly salary of ~3,500 €.

Contact info: Peter Timmerman (PhD, CSO)

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