/Develop organ-on-a-chip systems for dynamic single cell monitoring in health and disease

Develop organ-on-a-chip systems for dynamic single cell monitoring in health and disease

PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Novel microphysiological systems to develop the next generation of organ-on-a-chip models

Organ-on-a-chip technologies has the potential to revolutionize health care with the ability to study the dynamic interaction between human tissues and cells in a biomimetic microphysiological environment. In specific settings, this allow detailed studies of pathophysiology with patient- or population specific samples. This interdisciplinary PhD project is a part of imec’s Tenure Track program and will span across the fields of nanotechnology, engineering, biomedical sciences and regenerative medicine. The obtained work will contribute to our elevated understanding regarding multi-cellular interactions during tissue homeostasis and disease. Further, it will inspire cross-team collaboration due to its interdisciplinary nature and provide initial data in the development of novel biomimetic model systems.


Fibrosis is a dynamic process and the result of dysregulated cell communication. This leads to the generation of non-functional extracellular matrix. When highly progressive, this can cause significant tissue or organ contraction and subsequent malfunction. While the functional outcome of fibrosis is well understood, the underlying cause for the initiation and progression is still largely unknown. Organ-on-a-chip technology allows the study of human cells and tissues under biophysiological and dynamic settings. However, the design of the in vitro platform, the microenvironment, as well as cells and tissues of choice are crucial for the predictive outcome.  


As a part of imec’s Tenure Track initiative, this PhD project is focused on developing organ-on-a-chip models to study the different aspects of initiation and progression of fibrosis at the single cell level. The project will be carried out using imec’s nanotechnology systems to enable the dynamic and simultaneous study of multiple cell types in real time. The goal is to model a human physiological system in a specific context. Here, a focus is intended on the human synovial join, commonly affected by the process of fibrosis and degenerative disease.

Required background: Nanoengineering, biomedical sciences, bioengineering

Type of work: 20% development, 30% modeling/simulation, 50% experimental

Supervisor: Liesbet Lagae

Co-supervisor: Johanna Bolander

Daily advisor: Johanna Bolander

The reference code for this position is 2023-159. Mention this reference code on your application form.

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