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/Job opportunities/Investigation of cell viability and RNA quality of rare cells and CTC using the micro bubble jet sorter chip.

Investigation of cell viability and RNA quality of rare cells and CTC using the micro bubble jet sorter chip.

Research & development - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Contribute to the validation of imec’s cell sorter on chip for implementation in cancer diagnostics

Within the context of precision medicine, molecular characterization of tumors is playing an increasingly larger role in diagnosis, prognosis, and patient stratification. Liquid biopsy, the detection of tumor-derived material in blood, provides key advantages over the current gold standard of direct tissue sampling. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) play a pivotal role in the metastatic process. Both clinical and experimental evidence has shown that CTCs arise early during disease progression, which makes them interesting targets for the interception of metastatic dissemination.

These CTC are very rare, with estimated concentrations ranging from a few to a few hundred CTCs per 10ml blood. For high quality analysis of CTC using single-cell RNA sequencing techniques, cellular enrichment using a gentle sorting mechanism is essential. Standard flow cytometry operates under high shear stress which can induce changes to the cell expression profile of cells or even impact the RNA quality. Imec has developed a bubble jet sorter based on the rapid creation of numerous micro vapor bubbles, creating a rapid jet flow stream that is able to deflect the cells of interest. The inherent advantage of this microfluidics platform is the capacity of increasing the throughput by parallelization of multiple sorters (multiplexing) and hereby thus avoiding detrimental shear stress.

In this master thesis topic, careful investigation will be performed on the viability and RNA quality of rare cells isolated by the imec bubble jet sorter and standard flow cytometry. The student will be working both at imec (Leuven) and in the laboratory of prof Jean-Christophe Marine bridging technological innovation with clinical diagnostics.

Type of project: Thesis

Required degree: Master of Bioengineering

Required background: Biomedical engineering, Bioscience Engineering

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Sarah Libbrecht (