Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) hold great promise for regenerative medicine and in vitro disease modeling because of their capacity to differentiate to any cell type of the human body. We have recently shown differentiation of hPSC to cardiac progenitors and cardiac subtypes, including atrial, ventricular and pacemaker cardiomyocytes. However, one of the key challenges is to obtain mature cardiac subtypes, comparable to the adult heart. This ambitious project will focus on hPSC differentiated to the cardiac lineage using advanced 2D and 3D cultures to study chromatin state and the gene regulatory interactions underlying cellular identity and maturity.
As a PhD student you will differentiate hPSC to the cardiac progenitors and subtypes and generate 3D cardiac tissues using state-of-the-art tissue engineering technologies. You will use single cell transcriptome analysis (single cell RNA-seq) to distinguish subpopulations of cells with different identities and potential, and you will compare these transcriptomes to those of mature human cardiac cells. You will also obtain chromatin accessibility and epigenetic data (ATAC-seq, ChIP-seq) to examine gene-regulatory elements and to infer gene regulatory networks. You will use these data to predict and test key regulatory interactions with the aim of improving the maturation of differentiated stem cells. Moreover, you will use CRISPR-Cas gene-editing methods to create specific lineage reporter lines or target key molecular pathways in hPSC.
You will have the opportunity to develop novel ideas and work on an independent project that aligns with our research interests.
We are looking for two highly motivated and ambitious experimental biologists to work on a collaborative project funded by ZonMW. One PhD student will be part of the research team in the Department of Applied Stem Cell Technologies, TechMed Centre at the University of Twente. In our Department we have extensive experience in cardiovascular differentiation of hPSC, advanced tissue engineering and microfluidic organ-on-chip models using molecular (genetically modified by CRISPR-Cas) and functional readouts for disease modeling and drug testing. The other PhD student will join our research team in the Department of Molecular Developmental Biology, located at the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS), Faculty of Science in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. We offer a first class international research environment in regulation of gene expression and epigenetics using state-of-the-art genomic and proteomic technologies and bioinformatics. We run Next-Generation Sequencers, single cell equipment, Mass Spectrometers and we accommodate a bioinformatics team and a local computational infrastructure.
The ability to work and interact with others in an energetic and supportive research environment.
The University of Twente and the Radboud University Faculty of Science are equal opportunity employers, committed to building a culturally diverse intellectual community, and as such encourages applications from women and minorities.
You should upload your application exclusively using the button 'Apply' below, before the 1st of July. Your application should include (and be limited to) the following attachment(s):
Your suitability will be assessed on the basis of your CV and motivation letter. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview.
The University of Twente offers a stimulating work environment in an area of applied, forefront research. You will have an employment contract for the duration of 4 years and can participate in all employee benefits the UT offers. The gross salary starts with € 2.222,- in the first year and increases to € 2.840,- in the fourth year of your employment. Additionally, the University of Twente provides excellent facilities for professional and personal development, a holiday allowance (amount to 8%) and an end of year bonus of 8.3%. A high-quality training program is part of the agreement. The research has to result in a PhD thesis at the end of the employment period.