PhD position - Parallelisable microfluidic Heart-on-a-chip systems with integrated sensing capability to monitor maturation and functionality of cardiac microtissues

The Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB conducts research in the competence areas Interfacial Engineering and Materials Science, Molecular Biotechnology, Physical Process Technology, Environmentral Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering, and Cell and Tissue Engineering. Fraunhofer IGB develops and optimizes processes and products in the fields of medicine, pharmacy, chemistry, the environment and energy. The constructive interplay of the various disciplines at our institute opens up new approaches in areas such as medical engineering, nanotechnology, industrial biotechnology, and environmental technology.

Was Sie mitbringen

  • Early-stage researcher: a researcher without a PhD, who is in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of her/his research career, measured from the date when she/he obtained the degree, which would formally entitle her/him to embark on a doctorate.
  • Graduation in the field of biology, biomedical engineering or related fields – M.Sc. preferred.
  • Basic knowledge of microfabrication, biomechanics, 3D cell models, cell culture.
  • Practical experience of stem cell culture & differentiation and fluorescence microscopy is a plus.
  • Basic knowledge of data analysis and Microsoft Office.
  • Well-structured and autonomous working style, good organizational and communication skills.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English is a must, German is a plus.

The applicant must not have resided or carried out her/his main activity (work, studies etc.) in Germany for more than 12 months in the past three years.

Was Sie erwarten können

The advertised subproject will be carried out by a PhD student (“Early-stage Researcher”) at Fraunhofer IGB over a period of 36 months. The recruited researcher will work in the µOrgano Lab headed by Jun.-Prof. Dr. Peter Loskill, which brings together basic and translational research and spans two institutions, the University of Tübingen and the Fraunhofer IGB, Stuttgart.
She/he will develop and apply a novel Organ-on-a-chip system, which features a multitude of cardiac microtissues as well as integrated sensors. The main working tasks of the advertised subproject are:

1) to combine hiPSC derived cardiac tissues with biomaterials with tunable mechanical properties in existing microfluidic heart-on-a-chip systems;
2) to combine the chips with non-invasive readout technologies;
3) to study maturation and mechanical properties of cardiac tissues.

Secondments are planned as follows:

  • École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland for 2 months;
  • Miltenyi Biotec GmbH, Germany for 3 months;
  • Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), The Netherlands for 3 months.

This subproject is fully funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network „EUROoC“ (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018). The monthly salary consists of a living allowance, mobility allowance and family allowance (if applicable). Please visit the EC MSCA webpage for more information. The recruited researcher will have the opportunity to work as part of an international, interdisciplinary team of 15 PhD students, based at universities and industrial firms throughout Europe. She/he will gain a unique skill-set comprising microfabrication, biomaterial science and stem cell differentiation, as well as an overview of different organ-on-a-chip technologies and their implementation at industrial level. She/he is expected to finish the project with a PhD thesis and to disseminate the results through patents (if applicable), publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at international conferences.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Networks (ETNs) are joint research and training projects funded by the European Union. Funding is provided for PhD students from both inside and outside Europe to carry out individual project work in a European country other than their own.

The European training network “EUROoC” is made up of 11 core and 10 associate partners from academia, industry and
regulatory agencies, coordinated by Fraunhofer IGB. The network will recruit a total of 15 PhD students for project work lasting for 36 months.
Organ-on-a-Chip (OoC) technology is advancing at breath taking pace due to its potential impact in drug development and personalised treatments of disease. New researchers entering this field must be equipped with a multidisciplinary background ranging from biology to microfluidic chip engineering. EUROoC offers the first complete and coherent European training program on OoC by gathering multidisciplinary participants (biologists, physicists, chemists, engineers) in a multi-sectoral network composed of six companies, three regulation entities and twelve academic institutions.
EUROoC will qualify the next generation of interdisciplinary scientists for all aspects of OoC development and utilisation, including understanding of commercialisation pathways and regulatory aspects. EUROoC furthermore comprises a collection of innovative research projects addressing the development of advanced OoC systems with higher physiological significance going beyond current in vitro testing.

The position is initially limited for 3 years.
The working time consists of 39 hours per week.

Fraunhofer is Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization. Our research efforts are geared entirely to people’s needs: health, security, communication, energy and the environment. As a result, the work undertaken by our researchers and developers has a significant impact on people’s lives. We are creative. We shape technology. We design products. We improve methods and techniques. We open up new vistas.

For the application process: Bianca Zeindlmeier, bewerbung@igb.fraunhofer.dePlease send your CV, a half-page summary of master/diploma thesis, a letter of motivation (up to 2 pages) which states your research experience and interests, and names and contact information of at least two academic referees who could write a letter of recommendation via our applicant portal by clicking on the "Apply" button

For questions, please contact: Dr. Peter Loskill:

Kennziffer: IGB-2018-60 Bewerbungsfrist: