From electrochemical DNA synthesis towards its application in biomedical diagnostics – DNA chips for spatial transcriptomics

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DNA chips for spatial transcriptomics

Understanding the organization of cells in tissues, being able to differentiate between certain cell types as well as getting insights into their health status are key elements in biomedical research. While conventional procedures for analyzing tissue samples are solely based on visual examinations, leading therefore potentially to false conclusions due to morphological artifacts, spatial transcriptomics analysis allows to obtain genomic information of the cells together with their spatial origin.

Spatial transcriptomics analysis relies on the use of DNA microarrays of spatially barcoded reverse transcription primers to capture cellular mRNA from tissue slices placed on top of the DNA microarray. Even though various techniques exist to fabricate DNA microarrays, electrochemical DNA synthesis allows for exceptionally high feature density, resolution and throughput.

The proposed master’s thesis topic focusses on the electrochemical DNA synthesis and characterization for spatial transcriptomic analysis. The candidate will encounter a wide range of experimental techniques, including electrochemistry, surface functionalization, fluorescence microscopy and reverse transcription assays.

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate that has an excellent knowledge of biochemistry, and a strong interest in nanotechnology. As the student will be working in a highly international environment, a good command of the English language (spoken and written) is recommended. Due to the topic's highly interdisciplinary nature, we strongly advise the student to discuss the project with the supervisors prior to their application.

Type of project: Master's Thesis
Duration: 6 months
Responsible scientist(s): For further information and application, please contact Kathrin Hölz (, Karolien Jans ( and Tim Stakenborg (

Type of project: Thesis

Required degree: Master of Science, Master of Bioengineering, Master of Engineering Science

Required background: Chemistry/Chemical Engineering, Bioscience Engineering, Biomedical engineering, Nanoscience & Nanotechnology

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Kathrin Hoelz ( and Karolien Jans ( and Tim Stakenborg (

Only for self-supporting students.

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