Electrospun 3D Nano-biointerafaces directing cell fates

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Nanoscience programme. The position is available from 1 May 2018 or later.

Electrospun 3D Nano-biointerafaces directing cell fates

Research area and project description:
Inspired by the nanoscale features at cellular surface components (e.g., microvilli and filopodia) and extracellular matrix (ECM), the interactions between live cells and nanostructured materials in cellular environment have been studied. The significance of the overall fibrillar and porous nanoscale topography of the ECM in promoting essential cellular processes has raised the demands for biomaterials with nano features. Nanotechnology innovations have aided in the development of techniques for the production of such a nanocomposite material. A unique technique that has gained tremendous attention in the last decade as the most robust, straightforward nanofiber processing method is electrospinning, which utilizes high voltage electric fields on extruded liquid containing virtually any polymers, composites or supra‐molecules to generate continuous submicron fibers.

The project aims to apply innovative electrospinning technology to build three dimensional (3D) nano-biointerfaces that recapitulate the 3D in vivo environment to direct cell fate.

The successful candidate will be centrally involved in the study of electrospinning of different synthetic or biopolymers with control over mechanical and topographical properties, surface chemistry, drug release profile, in vitro cell biology assay and in vivo animal studies.

Qualifications and specific competences:
We are seeking candidates with a background in cell biology, medicine, biomaterials, or related disciplines. Experience with hydrogel biomaterials, 3D cell culture, neural interface and electrospinning, is not mandatory but preferred.

Place of Employment and Place of Work:
iNANO, Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (www.inano.au.dk), was established in 2002 and at present is a major research and education center based at Aarhus University hosting 60 senior scientists, ~100 PostDocs and ~130 PhD students. The center combines expertise and faculty from Physics, Chemistry, Molecular biology and Medicine to carry out world class interdisciplinary research in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. The center gives access to a broad range of infrastructure, tools and expertise including clean-room facilities. The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is at Nanofiber Technology and Cellular Engineering laboratory, Gustav Wieds Vej 10c, DK-8000, Denmark. 

Please be aware, that the PhD project involves funding from Sino Danish Center/SDC, and it is therefore required that:
- the PhD student must spend time in a Chinese research environment. The specific period depends on the funding model.
- PhD students funded by the Danish SDC office are expected to contribute to the educational activities on the SDC Master's programmes in Beijing during their stay in China.
See the SDC’s website on the specific requirements: http://sdc.university/research/phd/. Please note that it is not possible to get exemption from these conditions.

Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:
Dr Menglin Chen (menglin@inano.au.dk).

Application procedures

Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at Graduates School of Science and Technology is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” is documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test, minimum score: 560 (paper-based test) or 83 (internet-based test). The paper-based test must have a “total score”. From August call 2019, GSST no longer accepts the paper-based test.
    Aarhus University does not accept the TOEFL ITP test. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935. You must request that the test centre send your test results to Aarhus University, in order to enable verification of your test results.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate  with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to sphd@psys.au.dk no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, or United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at Aarhus University for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants able to document that English was the language of instruction during the whole period of their Bachelor’s and/or Master’s programme. This must be documented by uploading an official document from the institution stating this under “language skills documentation”. The onus is on the applicant to provide this information as GSST will not pursue information regarding language of instruction for any programmes or institutions.

The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to http://talent.au.dk/phd/scienceandtechnology/opencalls/
Choose November 2017 Call with deadline 1 February 2018 at 11.59 PM MET.
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme 'Nanoscience'

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: "Electrospun 3D Nano-biointerafaces directing cell fates"
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

Please note that all information in the application must be in Danish or English.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

·         Project description (½-4 pages). This document should describe your ideas and research plans for this specific project. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.

  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed. The e-mail will also include a link to the application – GSST urges you to check that all mandatory data, marked with an asterisk (*), is registered correctly and all attached files are readable. In case of significant errors, you should reply to the confirmation e-mail with the correct details before the application deadline.

GSST reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSST application guide here  

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.