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The faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Twente educates, and conducts research with approximately 2000 students including 300 PhD-students. The faculty is also responsible for a large volume of service education for programmes of other faculties. The faculty has approximately 300 permanent staff.
PhD position: Monitoring cellular activity using SECM
PhD vacancy (4 years): SECM characterization of functional microtissues in a microfabricated environment.
Multicellular spheroids play an important role in the fields of tissue engineering and tumor biology as models for tissues since these 3D cell aggregates better mimic in vivo conditions, by reproducing nutrient and signal gradients, cell-cell contacts as well as extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions. We have developed in collaboration with the group of Tissue Regeneration (BMTI, U. Twente) a novel technique for preparing large amounts of small-sized (< 200 μm) and reproducible spheroids from various cell lines. Our current goal is to characterize these tissues in a non invasive way and in real time. For that purpose, we plan to apply SECM (Scanning ElectroChemical Microscopy) for monitoring cellular activity in small spheroids down to the single cell level as an alternative technique to usual fluorescent measurements that imply the destruction of the tissues. SECM has already been reported for a wide range of applications to monitor and quantify various cellular functions, at the level of a single cell or a population.
The PhD candidate will focus on the SECM-based characterization of spheroids. His/her work will start by mapping the respiratory activity of cells (O2 consumption) of cells in a 3D cell aggregate and to correlate this with the cell fate and the formation of functional microtissues; cell death, proliferation or differentiation present different respiration patterns/level. Following this, the candidate will focus on angiogenesis or the formation/sprouting of capillaries, and this can be seen via the detection of the released NO. Last, the candidate will use SECM as a technique to map the reorganization of cells in functional microtissues.
The candidate should have a background in engineering (or physical sciences) and be willing to exploit it for cell biology purposes and the study of living cells. Experience in microfabrication, electrical measurements and cell biology will be appreciated. A good knowledge of scientific English is required for everyday communication in the group and writing of well-structured reports in that language.
The BIOS, Lab-on-a-Chip group is part of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, located at the University of Twente (The Netherlands) and is considered as a pioneering group in the field of microfluidics. The group offers a multidisciplinary research environment as well as an active social life. More information can be found on our group and our research activities and interests can be found on http://bios.ewi.utwente.nl/.
Conditions of employment
In accordance with the university regulations for academic personnel, the gross salary of a PhD student is € 2042,– in the first year to € 2612,– in the last year.
For more information and application, please contact Séverine Le Gac (+31-53-489-2722;
). Applications should consist of an application/motivation letter as well as detailed CV (resume). Please send you application before May 15 2010. Vacancy number 10/018.