Research Fellow in Soft Biocompatible Materials (Experimental)
We are looking for an outstanding researcher in soft biocompatible materials (experimental) to join our group at the University of Birmingham, UK, as part of an EPSRC-funded project.
The goal of the research is to exploit a novel methodology that we recently introduced to locally manipulate the characteristics of biocompatible soft materials, to study the behaviour of cells in response to a gradient of properties induced by thermophoresis. This will be obtained by controlling the temperature gradient within a microfluidic device.
More about the project: in recent years microfluidics has already proven incredibly useful in tackling biological problems, from single cell analyses up to organ reproduced on-a-chip. Current challenges in the field of tissue engineering are strongly limited by the availability of functionalised biocompatible materials that can provide the optimal substrate or the scaffold to be used to guide the growth of cells. This project aims to exploit an innovative way to locally manipulate the mechanical, optical and rheological properties of a soft material at the micron scale, and thus enabling a deeper understanding of the response of cells and tissues grown on such a functionalised biocompatible material. This project will exploit thermophoresis in a microfluidic environment to induce a concentration gradient in a polymeric solution by imposing a highly localised temperature gradient. The concentration gradient will then translate into a gradient of properties that we will tune and manipulate. This will enable us to generate biocompatible materials with unprecedented control over their mechanical properties where to study the proliferation and differentiation of cells. Additionally, we will investigate the behaviour of cells on fibre-like and more complex structures substrates, in order to control the proliferation, growth and even differentiation of behaviour of specific cell lines.
Candidates should hold or be near completion of a PhD (or equivalent) in Chemical Engineering, Physics, Biophysics, Bioengineering or a related discipline. The ideal candidate will have experience in the growth and manipulation of cells (such as 3T3 fibroblasts, He-La, Caco-2, etc.) and in one or more of the following: optical microscopy, microfluidic, surface functionalisation (e.g., to improve cells adhesion).