PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago
Use imec's microphysiological systems to develop the next generation of organ-on-a-chip to model the different aspects of fibrosis
Patients affected by fibrosis-associated diseases often suffer from a heavy symptom burden and usually have a poor quality of life. Due to our limited knowledge regarding the underlying mechanism of fibrosis initiation, there is lack of tools that allows early detection and intervention in the dynamic pathophysiological process. Organ-on-a-chip has the potential to revolutionize health care with the ability to study the dynamic interaction of human tissues and cells in a biomimetic environment. This interdisciplinary PhD project is a part of imec’s Tenure Track program and will span over the fields of nanotechnology, biomedical sciences and regenerative medicine. The obtained mechanistic findings will provide impact regarding multi-cellular interactions in 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 is the result of a dysregulation between several cell populations and their signalling interactions. This leads to the generation of nun-functional extracellular matrix, and when highly progressive this can cause tissue or organ contraction and subsequently malfunction. While the molecular and 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 platform, the microenvironment and 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. This includes tissue-specific cell types combined with components from the immune system, as well as aspects from the peripheral nerve system. The project will be carried out using imec’s microphysiological systems where multiple cell types can be combined and monitored online. 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, degenerative disease, and severe pain.
Required background: Nanotechnology, biomedical sciences
Type of work: 20% development, 30% modeling/simulation, 50% experimental
Supervisor: Liesbet Lagae
Co-supervisor: Johanna Bolander
Daily advisor: Dennis Lambrechts
For more information, please contact Johanna Bolander (email@example.com).
The reference code for this position is 2023-141. Mention this reference code on your application form.