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Mechanobiology of cell fate in 3D, multicellular environments Leuven Belgium,  

KU Leuven (company)

Posted on : 31 July 2017

Project Description

  • The research fits within the scope of a large,multidisciplinary research project at our university  that aims at the development of 3D multi cellular culture systems for real time insights in physical and chemical signals underlying stem cell morphogenesis and lineage fate.
  •  It brings together research groups from Biomedical Sciences and Science, Engineering& Technology, in particular the  Stem Cell Institute, the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Chemistry.
  •  Expertise ranges from cell and molecular biology, stem cell technology, to cell and matrix mechanics, bio materials development and screening, as well as advanced optical and fluorescence microscopy.
  •  Different tissue and organ systems are targeted,including liver, heart, muscle and blood vessels.
  • The research position aims at developing and implementingnovel computational and experimental methods to quantify cellular forces intocomplex, 3D multicellular culture systems that cover the different applicationsof the consortium. 
  • Starting point will be traction force microscopy proceduresand algorithms that have already been implemented by the Mechanobiology andTissue Engineering research group. 
  • The candidate is expected to have a strong backgroundin theoretical and computational mechanics (nonlinear continuum mechanics, finiteelement method), and at the same time willing to combine this with experimentalwork, involving cell culturing, optical microscopy and the experimental characterizationof cell and matrix mechanics.

  • The vacancy is open to postgraduate students that want to start a PhD (4 years) and postdocs (3 years in principle).
  • Candidates must have a master or PhD degree in engineering (preferably biomedical engineering), physics (preferably biophysics) or related.
  • You must have a background and experience in non-linear continuum (bio)mechanics and computational (bio)mechanics.
  • As you are expected to perform experimental and computational work, experience with both aspects is preferred, in particular with one or more of the following: finite element modelling, programming, mechanical characterization of cells and biomaterials, optical microscopy, cell culturing.
  • You have a basic knowledge of cell biology and a strong willingness to improve this knowledge by reaching out to other disciplines. 
  • Finally, very good communication skills in English, team player mentality, independence and problem solving skills are expected.

  • Full-time PhD position (four years) or postdoc position (in principle three years) in a very international, interdisciplinary and challenging research environment, with many opportunities for collaboration, both at and outside the university and exposure to cutting-edge technology . 
  • A competitive salary, including social security
  • Our university is among the top European universities and a hub for interdisciplinary research at the interface of engineering and biomedical sciences. 
  •  Good knowledge of English is sufficient for all communications both within and outside the research group.


3000 Leuven Belgium

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