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/Job opportunities/Long lifetime bioreceptors for continuous measurements in bioreactors, diagnostics and ingestibles

Long lifetime bioreceptors for continuous measurements in bioreactors, diagnostics and ingestibles

PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Empower tomorrow’s smart bioprocess monitoring devices and enable continuous biochemical sensing

Sensing technologies play a key role in areas such as bioprocess monitoring, medical diagnostics, and ingestible or implantable devices. Using semiconductor process technology, imec envisions to shrink all lab functionalities needed to perform this sensing into small lab-on-chip devices. Today, sensors that measure physical parameters such as temperature, pressure, or conductivity, etc., are very robust. Also sensors that measure chemical properties such as dissolved oxygen and pH have a long lifetime. What is absent today are robust, long-term biochemical measurements. The key challenge in biochemical measurements is the development of stable, reliable, and reusable bioreceptors that can be integrated into lab-on-chip devices for continuous use over extended periods of time.


To address this challenge, imec is looking for an enthusiastic PhD candidate  focusing on novel strategies to (i) identify stable natural or synthetic bioreceptors (ii) tackle key mechanisms responsible for bioreceptor degradation or inactivation, (iii) actively control the exposure and/or affinity of bioreceptors without affecting their subsequent performance, and (iv) integrate them with electrochemical sensor arrays, to enable continuous or semicontinuous biosensor operation and to support the next generation of process analytical technologies, medical diagnostics and ingestible devices that are currently being developed by imec.


The work will be carried out using imec’s cutting edge biolabs and microfabrication facilities and benchmarked against commercial and in-house developed biosensors. Close collaboration with MEMS engineers is anticipated to integrate the biosensing functionalities with silicon devices.


For this interdisciplinary project the PhD candidate will further closely collaborate with the University of Birmingham (UOB), UK, who established the use of electrically responsive surfaces to control the activity of single domain antibodies[1]. Together with UOB, novel tunable bioreceptor chemistries will be created and integrated into the next generation lab-on-chip devices, focusing on bioprocess monitoring application.

[1] Gomes et al. Nat Rev Chem (2018) 2, 120; Santo Gomes et al. ACS Appl. Bio. Mat. (2018) 1, 738.

Required background: Chemical, physical, medicinal or engineering technology

Type of work: 60% experimental, 30 % data interpretation, 10% literature study

Supervisor: Liesbet Lagae

Daily advisor: Karolien Jans

The reference code for this position is 2021-084. Mention this reference code on your application form.