PhD Position in Medical Implant Safety Research
Medical implants are available for a wide variety of health problems. They are greatly diverse in size and composition, ranging from very small vascular stents to large hip replacements. They are made from different materials with accompanying material properties. Examples are hip implants, pacemakers and pelvic floor meshes. The vast majority of patients benefits from the use of medical implants. However, a group of patients can develop adverse health complaints, such as pain and migration of the implant.
Current standards for the biological evaluation of medical implants mostly rely on toxicity tests originally developed for chemical substances. Adverse health effects caused by medical implants may be initiated by chemical or mechanical stimuli, or a combination. The standard toxicity tests are not developed to measure mechanical stimuli. Within this PhD-project you will develop innovative tests using both chemical and mechanical stimuli to assess implant safety. These tests rely on an in vitro cell culture model that will be used for biomaterial exposure via a direct cell-biomaterial interaction that can assess the effects of both the chemical and mechanical stimuli. Application of the test will focus on the foreign body response in the context of complications due to fibrotic encapsulation.
In this project you will: (i) investigate the applicability of various cell types (cell lines, primary cells, iPSCs) to assess implant safety, (ii) develop a cell culture model for direct cell-material interaction, (iii) develop assays to measure key-events involved in the foreign body response, and (iv) evaluate the innovative tests using clinically derived reference samples of medical implants removed from patients with complaints.
Prof. dr. Jan de Boer from the department of Biomedical Engineering of the Technical University Eindhoven will be your promotor. Your home office and primary laboratories will be at the RIVM, However, the TU/e facilities are available as well when specialized equipment is needed in order to execute certain experiment. Additionally you will be exptected to closely collaborate with the de Boer’s research group, including regular attendance at their work discussions and journal clubs and scientific discussions about the PhD-project. Furthermore, we will work with multiple (inter)national partners, including Maxima Medical Centre Veldhoven.
The project runs within the Strategic Programme RIVM (SPR) in which we conduct innovative research. The aim of SPR is to innovate and to generate knowledge that helps to prepare RIVM to respond to future issues in health and sustainability.
We are looking for a motivated researcher with the following requirements:
- A Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering, Toxicology or a related field
- Interest in biomaterials, cell-material interaction and immunology
- Experienced in cell culturing of cell lines and or primary cells. Knowledge on induced pluripotent stem cells is not required but preferred
- Prior experience with molecular biology assays
- Eager to work application-driven
- Sound understanding of basic bio-statistics
- Keen to learn about complex/multimodal data interpretation
- Communicate and coordinate effectively and efficiently with members of our multidisciplinary project team
- Able to multitask and prioritize
- Abie to work independently and as part of a team to deliver high-quality work
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English at a level appropriate to the research.