Mechanobiology in Epithelial
3D Tissue Constructs


Department DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials
Job site: DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials
Description of the position: PhD Position: Natural and synthetic hybrid hydrogels to study the effect of mechanical anisotropy on cell behavior and guidance 
Job description: Our profile
Our international research group is focusing on the development and processing of new biomaterials for advanced biomedical systems and tissue engineering. Soft hydrogels are designed with controlled biochemical and mechanical properties and complex, hierarchical structures to mimic the extracellular matrix architectures. Within this scope, the Anisogel enables the creation of an oriented structure after injection, resulting in aligned cell growth due to the mechanical anisotropy of the material.


Your tasks
You will be part of the DFG-funded graduate school "Mechanobiology in Epithelial 3D Tissue Constructs" (MEŽT; me3t.rwth-aachen.de). You are expected to work in an interdisciplinary team with a keen interest in novel technological developments. Your project B2 "Consequences of disease-causing cytoskeletal mutations on epidermal tissue stability" combines 3D culture systems with state-of-the-art microscopy and mechanobiological analyses. You will monitor cytoskeletal keratin network dynamics, measure local mechanical properties and study mechanoresponses in wild-type and mutant keratinocytes grown as monolayers and epidermal equivalents.
Requirements / Your profile: The main objective is to engineer a fully poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)-based Anisogel for various tissue models with optimized, application-specific mechanical and biochemical properties and degradation rate. Using established methods, a library of magneto-responsive rod-shaped microgels and short fibers will be produced with different dimensions, aspect ratios, chemistries, cell adhesive ligands, stiffness and surface topographies. Cells will be mixed inside the hydrogel solution and, after orientation, the effect of the 3D mechanical anisotropy, created by the different material design parameters, will be analyzed on epithelial cell migration and stem cell differentiation.
In-mold polymerization and an electrospinning/microcutting technique will be applied to generate a library of anisometric elements. Their properties and functionality will be tested using atomic force and STED microscopy, cell culture experiments and immunostainings. The mechanical properties of the surrounding hydrogel will be optimized via rheology and specific biological ECM fragments will be produced in
E. coli.
Pay category: TV-L 13 (65%)
Hiring date: from July 01, 2019
Duration of employment: limited until June 30, 2022
Contact: Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Laura De Laporte
Email: delaporte@dwi.rwth-aachen.de
phone: +49 (0)241 80-23309
www.dwi.rwth-aachen.de/index.php?id=799

Equal career prospects for women and men.
Severely disabled applicants with equal qualification will be given preferential consideration.
Application deadline: March 31, 2019