Vacancies 64281-PhD-Development-of-self-healable-cell-laden-hydrogels-with-a-microchip-tool-box-for-mending-os

  • 36 hours a week
  • Temporary
  • 4 years
  • Date of publication: 2 January 2019
  • Deadline: 30 January 2019
  • Scale 10A: max € 42220 gross per year at full employment (incl. vacation bonus and end of year payments)
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Job description

Due to the aging population new innovations are needed for dealing with osteoporosis; the most common disability among today’s elderly. A promising strategy to remedy the current situation entails targeted delivery of hydrogel embedded stem cell grafts into sites, which are at high risk of osteoporotic fractures. However, a number of challenges need to be addressed to unleash the full potential of such therapies.
These challenges include:
  • Insufficient mechanical shielding of injected stem cells;
  • Lack of understanding of the biological fate of stem cell grafts within load-bearing tissues;
  • The “easy-to-damage” nature of conventional hydrogels;
  • Low stem cell survival rate.

To this end, combinatorial hydrogels that can mechanically shield stem cells, protect them against the hostile in vivo environment of bone and spontaneously self-heal if damaged are warranted. At the Department of Dentistry (research group Regenerative Biomaterials, Radboudumc, Nijmegen, The Netherlands), one four-year PhD position is available focusing on the development of a microchip for high-throuhgput evaluation of self-healable hydrogels for mending bone disorders and osteoporis-related conditions.
Tasks and responsibilities
  • Oxidize aliginate and used it as a building-block self-healing hydrogels;
  • Be able to work with 2D nanomaterials and incoportate these into hydrogels;
  • Synthesize self-healing hydrogels and characterize their mechanical and self-healing properties;
  • Use various micro and nanofabrication methods for chip manufacture;
  • Develop a microchip for high-throughput characterization of self-healable hydrogels;
  • Evaluate the bone inducing capacity of the hydrogels;
  • Interact with a highly multidisciplinary team of scientists focusing on development of a novel generation of biomaterials for bone regeneration;
  • Supervise MSc and BSc students and disseminate the obtained knowledge by scientific publications and presentations at (inter)national conferences, with the ultimate aim to finalize and publicly defend a PhD-thesis.


  • A (recently) completed MSc degree in a relevant area: biochemistry, materials science, chemistry, biomedical sciences or similar;
  • Preferably experience with in vitro cell culture and /or basic mechanical testing of alginate-based materials;
  • Preferably experience/affinity with biological evaluation of the osteogenic properties of nanoreinforced alginate hydrogels;
  • Capacity and willingness to connect the fields of biology and materials science;
  • Collaborative mentality and team spirit;
  • Eagerness to collaborate with external partners outside the Netherlands.
  • A pro-active and independent attitude.


The PhD candidate will be appointed at the department of Dentistry (research group Regenerative Biomaterials, Radboudumc, Nijmegen, The Netherlands) as part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers in- and outside Nijmegen consisting of polymer chemists, pharmacists, materials scientists, biologists, and dental and medical clinicians. The Department of Biomaterials is the leading research group within the Netherlands that focuses on bioinspired strategies for the design of novel, synthetic bone-substituting biomaterials. As such, the research activities within the Department of Biomaterials cover material development and characterization, in vitro testing, in vivo evaluation, and clinical trials.

Radboudumc strives to be a leading developer of sustainable, innovative and affordable healthcare to improve the health and wellbeing of people and society in the Netherlands and beyond. This is the core of our mission: To have a significant impact on healthcare. To get a better picture of what this entails, check out our strategy.

Read more about what it means to work at Radboudumc and how you can do your part.

Employment conditions

Upon commencement of employment we require a certificate of conduct (Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag, VOG) and there will be, depending on the type of job, a screening based on the provided cv. Radboud university medical center’s HR Department will apply for this certificate on your behalf.

Read more about the Radboudumc employment conditions and what our International Office can do for you when moving to the Netherlands.

Comments and contact information

Please include a letter describing motivation, research interests, a cv with full publication list, names and contact information of (at least) two references and a summary of research interests in a single pdf-file.

All additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from Dr. Sander Leeuwenburgh, full professor or Dr. Alireza Dolatshahi-Pirouz, assitant professor. Use the Apply button to submit your application.

Please apply before January 30.
Recruitment agencies are asked not to respond to this job posting.

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