Towards an innovative strategy to bioprint a tooth

Location: Belgium
Application Deadline: 24/06/2024
Published: 1 month ago

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The succesful candidate will conduct PhD research under the supervision of Prof. Heidi Declercq (KU Leuven) and Prof. Annelies Bronckaers (UHasselt). You will play an active role in the research team, take part in workshops, conferences and other activities. You will be based at KU Leuven Campus Kulak (Kortrijk), Department of Development and Regeneration of KU Leuven. You will benefit from an established infrastructure for research and join the Tissue Engineering Lab in Kortrijk. You will have access to specialized training courses and the opportunity to present your research at national and international conferences.
Project
You will work on the FWO-research project of which the general aim is to biofabricate a biomimetic tooth. Your specific focus will be on spheroid generation and bioprinting.
Despite today’s technological advancements and professional health care, tooth loss remains a global health problem. The tooth is a complex structure composed of the highly mineralized tissues (enamel and dentin) enclosing a soft vascularized tissue, the dental pulp. As the teeth and dental tissues cannot regenerate, missing teeth need to be replaced. Current dental restoration solutions are made of synthetic materials and are prone to mechanical and biological failure. Hence, there is an urgent need to new strategies, preferentially made of human biological materials.
The ultimate goal of this project is to bioprint a 3D tooth. Specifically, we will bioprint a structure composed of human cells, that mimics the anatomy of the human tooth, hence composing of three layers: enamel, dentin and soft dental pulp. First, we will design three different spheroidical building blocks composed of human cells: enamel, dentin and vascularized pulp spheroids. Next we will optimize a bio-ink and use these building blocks together with novel bioprinting techniques to print 3D tooth constructs. We will also evaluate whether the 3D constructs can be used to repair dental tissues and even totally replace a tooth using rat models. This project will not only pave the way for cell-based tooth regeneration strategies in the clinic but the developed bioprinting strategies can also be applied for other tissue regeneration purposes such as cartilage and bone.

Profile

  • You must hold a Masters’ degree in biomedical sciences, biomedical engineering, bioengineering, pharmaceutical sciences, or equivalent related fields.
  • You have experience with general laboratory skills, microscopy, cell culture,…
  • You should have solid knowledge of tissue engineering, histology, biology,…
  • You should be a team player with good oral and written communication skills.
  • You should be eager to deliver presentations (oral or poster) at (inter)national symposiums or conferences.
  • You are interested to carry out visitations to other laboratories for learning new techniques.
  • You are enthousiastic to co-supervise the thesis projects of bacher and master students.

Offer

  • We offer a doctoral position for 1 year in an interdisciplinary environment.  After a positive evaluation, the position is prolonged with 3 years.
  • You will have access to state-of-the-art research facilities (bioprinter, light-sheet microscopy, flow cytometry,…) and will be registered in a specific program of the doctoral school.
  • You will have active collaborations with (inter)national laboratories.
  • You will work in a stimulating, international research environment in an academic laboratory.

Interested

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Heidi Declercq, tel.: +32 56 24 64 25, mail: heidi.declercq1@kuleuven.be.

 

KU Leuven strives for an inclusive, respectful and socially safe environment. We embrace diversity among individuals and groups as an asset. Open dialogue and differences in perspective are essential for an ambitious research and educational environment. In our commitment to equal opportunity, we recognize the consequences of historical inequalities. We do not accept any form of discrimination based on, but not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, ethnic or national background, skin colour, religious and philosophical diversity, neurodivergence, employment disability, health, or socioeconomic status. For questions about accessibility or support offered, we are happy to assist you at this email address.

Do you have a question about the online application system? Please consult our FAQ or email us at apply@kuleuven.be

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