PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago
Vascularization plays an important role in tissue morphogenesis and organogenesis. Aberrant spatial-temporal regulation of vascular network development severely disrupts proper formation of tissue cytoarchitecture and thus the functionality and physiology of an organ. In the perspective of in vitro engineering of 3D tissue construct, incorporation of endothelial cells to promote vascularization has been shown to improve cell viability and tissue maturation. However, the vascular networks are formed in a random, non-physiological fashion. This project aims at exploring the potential of complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS)-based microelectrode array (MEA) technology to enable micropatterning of vascular network within a 3D tissue engineering construct. The existing MEA chip featuring high density microscale electrodes will be used as an electroporation platform to reprogram human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) into endothelial cells at single cell resolution, via mRNA transfection of the master transcription factor (i.e., ETV2). The hypothesis is that transient activation of ETV2 expression would effectively drive hiPSC differentiation into endothelial lineage and maturation within a hydrogel and thus leading to 3D vascular network formation in a pre-defined pattern. As proof-of-concept, human astrocytes, cortical neurons, and pericytes will also be incorporated into the hydrogel to promote 3D vascularized neural tissue formation. The student will be trained on hiPSC culture, cell electroporation using the existing MEA chip, co-culture of neural cells in hydrogel, and other molecular biology techniques including quantification of cell growth, immunohistology and 3D confocal imaging technique.
Required background: Bioengineering, Biomedical Sciences, Biomedical engineering
Type of work: 30% development, 10% modeling/simulation, 60% experimental
Supervisor: Liesbet Lagae
Co-supervisor: Dries Braeken
Daily advisor: Yoke Chin Chai
The reference code for this position is 2024-126. Mention this reference code on your application form.