PhD in Multiscale response of skin to mechanical stressors

Updated: 5 months ago

The Macromolecular Engineering Laboratory within the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering (D-MAVT) at ETH Zurich in Zurich, Switzerland engineers and applies advanced polymeric materials for a range of biomedical and industrial uses. The recent focus of the group ( ) includes the development of: (i) tools to study mechanobiology and cell-matrix interactions; (ii) biomaterial processing; (iii) organ perfusion and regeneration; (iv) rational design of polymer networks; and (v) engineered drug delivery systems. The lab is composed of a highly interdisciplinary and international team of motivated researchers. To expand on the design of engineered extracellular matrix mimics for skin bioengineering and mechanobiology with direct impact on many of the current projects in the lab, the Macromolecular Engineering Lab is recruiting a full-time (100%) doctoral candidate.

Project background

This project is part of a collaborative and interdisciplinary effort involving researchers in cell biology, skin mechanics, and biomaterials to bring new understanding of tissue-level response to mechanical stressors, and translate this to clinical applications. The doctoral student in the Tibbitt group will focus on the fabrication, characterization, and implementation of 3D biomaterials that represent a physiologically- and mechanically-relevant models of dermal skin tissue, and their integration in bioreactors, as well as characterization of the biological response. The goal is to have 3D in vitro system to mimic the ex vivo conditions and to control each of the physical state variables of the cell microenvironment in vitro. You are expected to work in close collaboration with the Mazza group (D-MAVT, ETHZ) and Werner group, D-BIOL, ETHZ). In addition, you are expected to contribute to lab duties, and will have the opportunity to contribute to teaching within the group (Student supervision and Lab workshops for MSc students of D-MAVT).

Job description

The main tasks will center around the mechanical characterization of 3D biomaterials, biological investigation of mechanical stressors on encapsulated cells (including co-culture systems), and design of culture systems for investigating mechanical stressors on 3D cell cultures, including bioreactor design.

A solution-oriented and collaborative personality and spirit is required in this project that involves internal co-workers as well as co-workers from other disciplines across ETHZ.

Your profile

We are seeking for a curiousmotivated and self-driven individual, who is comfortable working on interdisciplinary projects with aspects of mechanical engineering and bioengineering. Academic excellence, a professional work attitude, and a proactive and self-driven work ethic are expected. Moreover, the candidate must be able to fluently communicate in English (oral and written) and be willing to work in a highly interactive international team. Applicants must hold a MSc degree in Mechanical engineering, Chemical engineering, general engineering, Bioengineering, Biomedical engineering, Molecular Health Sciences, Biotechnology or related fields. A basic knowledge of solid mechanics and thermodynamics, as well as experience working with biomaterials is preferred. Lab experience in standard biological assays & wet lab (cell culture and/or protein assays and/or gene expression assays) and in either use of hydrogels or bioreactors would be a plus. The position is funded by the SNSF Sinergia program for 4 years, at 100% employment, supervised by Dr. Céline Labouesse and Prof. Dr. Mark Tibbitt. The position is subjected to admission to the doctoral program at ETHZ.

We offer

The position is hosted in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering (D-MAVT) of ETH Zurich, in the Zentrum Campus in Zurich, Switzerland. D-MAVT  is an interdisciplinary department with focus areas in process/chemical, mechanical, and biomedical engineering as well as robotics and controls. ETH Zurich  is a global leader in science and engineering and consistently ranks among the top universities in the world. Zurich is an international city with broad access to outdoor activities, arts and culture, and other European cities, as well as a rich and excellent scientific community. In this context, we offer:

  • Interdisciplinary research environment
  • Supportive and collaborative work environment
  • Flexibility in terms of experimental planning and working times
  • A motivating and engaged research lab
  • Freedom and support to explore independent ideas

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich
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Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following information as a single PDF:

  • a cover letter of motivation that describes your scientific interest in this position and main scientific achievements to date (max. 2 pages)
  • CV
  • diplomas and course transcripts
  • the contact details of two or more references

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the Macromolecular Engineering Laboratory can be found on our website For questions about the position, please contact Dr. Labouesse ( ) or Prof. Tibbitt ( ) (no applications).

For recruitment services the GTC of ETH Zurich apply.

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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