PHD POSITION ON “MICROFLUIDIC DROPLET LIBRARY GENERATOR TOWARDS HIGH-THROUGHPUT SCREENING”

16 October 2020

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Interested?

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Xavier Casadevall i Solvas, tel.: +32 16 37 71 03, mail: xevi.casadevall@kuleuven.be.You can apply for this job no later than November 30, 2020 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

Ref. BAP-2020-749

Apply before 30 November 2020

The Division of Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors (MeBioS) performs groundbreaking research on innovative sensor technologies and the associated data analysis methods to understand and control the quality of products and ongoing processes. The Biomimetics research group focuses on replicating biological functions via engineered micro- and nano-systems for biomedical applications.

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Project

Recent years have seen a surge in the development of microfluidic platforms for a wide diversity of applications, from diagnostics to new fundamental science studies. Microdroplet-based platforms (a particular branch of microfluidics capable of generating and manipulating identical, fL to nL-sized droplets at kHz rates) has spearheaded several revolutionary High-Throughput Screening (HTS) assays, notably for applications in single cell omics. Yet, other promising HTS applications of droplet-based microfluidics (such as drug screening) remain largely untapped due to the impossibility of current droplet generation strategies to produce large droplet libraries of diverse composition.

The first phase of this project aims to develop a strategy to solve the aforementioned limitation of droplet-based technology by developing a hybrid microfluidic-liquid handling platform with the capacity of generating large droplet libraries with distinct chemical payloads. Your tasks will involve:

  • Designing, manufacturing and testing of novel microfluidic devices capable of rapid and multiplexed droplet formation.
  • Testing and applying amelioration strategies for stable long-term droplet storage and prevention of payload leakage / droplet cross-talk.
  • Setting up and operation of droplet screening systems and lab automation devices (e.g. liquid handling systems).

In the second phase of this project you will contribute to adapt this platform to enable the production of / experimentation with biomimetic cell components (i.e. artificial bio-membrane constructs), with the aim of screening and selecting optimal conditions for the future effective in-vivo implantation of artificial cells in animal models.

Profile

Are you an energetic and versatile scientist/engineer, who is keen to work at the crossroads of several disciplines (from chemistry to intelligent control systems)? Then you may be the perfect scientist to join our team.

The ideal candidate will already possess the following skills (although commitment/capacity to acquire them rapidly may also suffice):

  • A working knowledge in one or more programming languages (Python, LabView, Matlab, C++), ideally with a focus on computer vision, machine learning/AI or laboratory automation.
  • Experience in developing robotic systems (ideally liquid handling robots).
  • Practical knowledge in working with microfluidic devices, ideally with a focus on the generation of biomimetic cellular components.

Important: candidates interested in this position must hold a MS degree from an european institution which must not have been awarded before March 2018.

Offer
  • We offer a full-time PhD position for 1 year. After positive evaluation, the contract can be extended to 3 additional years (4 years in total).
  • Excellent guidance by our young, dynamic and multidisciplinary team.
  • State of the art research infrastructure.
  • A challenging job in a young, dynamic environment.
  • High level scientific training at a top-ranked university.
  • Being part of a world-class research group.
  • Remuneration according to the KU Leuven salary scales (https://www.kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/en/phd-info).