Postdoc position at the interface of biomaterials and organoid research

Keywords: biomaterials, organoids, synthetic ECM, tissue patterning, developmental biology, polymer chemistry


 

We seek an enthusiastic postdoctoral researcher with an internationally excellent research track record to develop or apply novel biomaterials for dynamic organoid cultures. The candidate will engage in research related to discovering and engineering biomaterials for the control, differentiation and patterning of various organoid systems, such as kidney and intestinal organoids as well as stem cell-derived embryo models.


Stem cells, including induced pluripotent stem cells, demonstrate an impressive self-organizing capacity when cultured in a three-dimensional (3D) context. Their capability to form complex organ-like/organism-like structures holds the potential to mimic organogenesis and embryonic development in vitro. Although their potential is undisputed, current organoids typically only partly represent natural tissue architecture, still lack maturity, and are generally characterized by a high heterogeneity. 

 

Currently, the impact of the physical and local environment on organoid development is poorly understood, while the use of soluble factors to guide development is better explored. To address this dichotomy, we are looking for a motivated candidate with a solid background in biomaterials, bioengineering, or organoid culture who is interested in multidisciplinary research. The successful candidate could be a materials scientist with a strong affinity for developmental/cell biology, or a biologist with a strong affinity for the use of innovative materials to steer living systems. This work will be a close collaboration between two established research groups at MERLN. We aim to build upon our previous expertise in biomaterials for organoids and bioprinting and combine this with expertise in engineering systems to better understand developmental biology. The fully funded 2,5-year postdoc position (1+1,5 year contract) will be embedded between labs comprising a multidisciplinary team consisting of biologists, chemists, and bioengineers. 

 

The project has two primary aims 1) controlling organoid formation from pluripotent stem cells to better understand cell-cell communication and the role of signalling centres during tissue patterning and how tissue boundaries can be constituted and maintained on a long-term basis in vitro; 2) developing dynamic microenvironments from responsive or instructive biomaterials in order to guide or understand 1) in more detail. The candidate will employ advanced biomaterials systems (dynamic covalent, supramolecular, light responsive, 3D printable inks) to create spatiotemporally controlled dynamic culture of organoids to further elucidate and control mechanisms of de novo pattern formation. 

 

Key references:

  • Teixeira Carvalho, D.J., Moroni, L. & Giselbrecht, S. Nature Reviews Materials 8, 147–164 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41578-022-00523-z
  • Samal P, …, Giselbrecht S. Advanced Materials 2020 Jun;32(24):e1907966. doi: 10.1002/adma.201907966.
  • Kakni P, …, Giselbrecht S. Journal of Tissue Engineering 2023 Jan 18;14:20417314221149208. doi: 10.1177/20417314221149208. 
  • Shahzad Hafeez, Monize Caiado Decarli, Agustina Aldana, Mahsa Ebrahimi, Floor AA Ruiter, Hans Duimel, Clemens van Blitterswijk, Louis M Pitet, Lorenzo Moroni, Matthew B Baker. Advanced Materials, 2023, 35, 2301242. https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.202301242
  • Floor AA Ruiter, Francis LC Morgan, Nadia Roumans, Anika Schumacher, Gisela G Slaats, Lorenzo Moroni, Vanessa LS LaPointe, Matthew B Baker. Advanced Science, 2022, 20, 2200543. https://doi.org/10.1002/advs.202200543

 

Profile
We are looking for a proactive, creative thinker who is interested to work on a challenging project at the interfaces of biomaterials, bioengineering and biology. The highly collaborative and interdisciplinary project will suit an ambitious and passionate candidate who likes a fast-paced environment. Excellent knowledge of scientific English for listening, speaking, reading, and writing are required as it is our working language. Knowledge of Dutch is not required.
Candidates applying for the postdoc position who do not yet possess a PhD, but are expected to finish their thesis shortly, are welcome to apply, but should clarify the timeline for completion in their cover letter.
 

The successful candidate will join the “Morphogenetic Micro Engineering” laboratory of Dr. Stefan Giselbrecht in the MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine at Maastricht University (https://merlninstitute.com/merln/morphogenetic-micro-engineering), and the “BioMatt” group of Dr. Matthew Baker (https://biomattgroup.com/). Working at MERLN means you will join an international network of researchers from ~25 nationalities spanning multiple disciplines. We are a collaborative and interdisciplinary group with diverse expertise, including biomaterials, chemistry, tissue engineering, microfabrication, and cell biology. We work in newly renovated laboratory facilities with state-of-the-art equipment. We have a long history as leaders in the field of tissue engineering and are particularly well-known for our orientation towards translational research.

 

What we offer

As Postdoc position at the interface of biomaterials and organoid research at Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, you will be employed by the most international university in the Netherlands, located in the beautiful city of Maastricht. In addition, we offer you:

  • Good employment conditions. The full-time (1.0 FTE) postdoc position is offered for one year with one year of extension. Your salary would be between € 3.877, - and € 5.090,- gross per month, according to the PD salary scale 10, UFO profile Researcher. The exact level depends on experience. On top of this, there is a supplementary 8% holiday and an 8.3% year-end bonus per year.
  • At Maastricht University, the well-being of our employees is of utmost importance, we offer flexible working hours and the possibility to work partly from home if the nature of your position allows it. You will receive a monthly commuting and internet allowance for this. If you work full-time, you will be entitled to 29 vacation days and 4 additional public holidays per year, namely carnival Monday, carnival Tuesday, Good Friday, and Liberation Day. If you choose to accumulate compensation hours, an additional 12 days will be added. Furthermore, you can personalize your employment conditions through a collective labor agreement (CAO) choice model. 
  • As Maastricht University, we offer various other excellent secondary employment conditions. These include a good pension scheme with the ABP and the opportunity for UM employees to participate in company fitness and make use of the extensive sports facilities that we also offer to our students. 
  • Last but certainly not least, we provide the space and facilities for your personal and professional development. We facilitate this by offering a wide range of training programs and supporting various well-established initiatives such as 'acknowledge and appreciate'. 
    The terms of employment at Maastricht University are largely set out in the collective labor agreement of Dutch Universities. In addition, local provisions specific to UM apply. For more information, click here.

 

Applying from abroad?
MERLN houses researchers from across the globe who have successfully navigated the transition of moving to the Netherlands. Maastricht, where we are located, is itself a warm and welcoming city. The founding city of the EU is an international hub with inhabitants from around the world. English is widely spoken, which has helped create a unique and vibrant international community. Thanks to Maastricht’s central position in Europe, it is only a short drive or train trip away from Belgium, Germany, France and the rest of the Netherlands. The city is family-friendly and possesses an international school and several excellent primary schools.
Candidates who would need to relocate may be eligible for compensation. Employees relocating from abroad may be eligible for the Dutch ‘30% ruling’, a tax advantage which results in a significantly higher net salary.  
 

Maastricht University


Why work at Maastricht University?
At Maastricht University (UM), everything revolves around the future. The future of our students, as we work to equip them with a solid, broad-based foundation for the rest of their lives. And the future of society, as we seek solutions through our research to issues from all around the world. Our six faculties combined provide a comprehensive package of study programmes and research.

In our teaching, we use the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) method. Students work in small groups, looking for solutions to problems themselves. By discussing issues and working together to draw conclusions, formulate answers and present them to their peers, students develop essential skills for their future careers.

With over 22,300 students and more than 5,000 employees from all over the world, UM is home to a vibrant and inspiring international community.

Are you drawn to an international setting focused on education, science and scholarship? Are you keen to contribute however your skills and qualities allow? Our door is open to you! As a young European university, we value your talent and look forward to creating the future together.

Click here for more information about UM. 

Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences
At the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML), everything revolves around healthy living. Our research and education are not solely focused on recovery, but place a strong emphasis on prevention, health preservation, and health promotion. Our aim is to use our knowledge and expertise to genuinely contribute to the well-being of individual people as well as society in total. 

In, research, and healthcare, FHML is closely collaborating with the academic hospital in Maastricht, together forming the Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC+).  FHML is strongly connected in education, research, and care with the Maastricht academic hospital, together with which it forms the Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+). 

FHML, which is the largest faculty of Maastricht University, is formed by an (inter)national community of employees and students. The faculty offers a wide range of Dutch and English-taught bachelor's and master's programs in innovative educational concepts in which the emphasis is always on building bridges to practice.

The multidisciplinary research of the FHML focuses on a number of carefully chosen topical current themes. In addition to research aimed at gaining new insights, it also concerns research whose results can be directly translated into concrete applications and innovations. The implementation of the various research programs is organized in our six graduate schools and two institutes.

Curious?
For any questions, please contact Dr. Stefan Giselbrecht (s.giselbrecht@maastrichtuniversity.nl), or Dr. Matthew Baker (m.baker@maastrichtuniversity.nl).

Applying?

Or are you already convinced and ready to become our new Postdoc? Apply now, no later than April 23, for this position.

Candidates should expect to hear from us within three weeks of the deadline for applications. Video interviews will be scheduled for short-listed candidates. Those proceeding to the second interview round will be invited to attend an in-person interview. Your travel costs will be compensated. 

To apply, please submit:
- A cover letter including your motivation and your relevant experience
- A CV
- List of publications
- The names of two people who could provide a reference

The vacancy is open for internal and external candidates. In case of equal qualifications, internal candidates will be prioritized. 

 

Maastricht University is committed to promoting and nurturing a diverse and inclusive community. We believe that diversity in our staff and student population contributes to the quality of research and education at UM, and strive to enable this through inclusive policies and innovative projects led by teams of staff and students. We encourage you to apply for this position.

Job Type:  Academic
Faculty/Service Center:  Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences
Closing date:  23-04-2024
FTE min:  1,0
FTE max:  1,0
Salary min:  €3226,00
Salary max:  €5090,00
ID job:  778
Job Type:  Academic
Faculty/Service Center:  Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences
Closing date:  23-04-2024
FTE min:  1,0
FTE max:  1,0
Salary min:  €3226,00
Salary max:  €5090,00
ID job:  778