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PhD and Post-doc Positions for Bioelectronic Engineering of Mammalian Cells

A PhD position is available at ETH Zurich. Citizens of any country are eligible to apply. Applicants should apply before as soon as possible.

The Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) is the first truly interdisciplinary research unit of the ETH Zurich where theory, experimental biology and engineering groups team up to foster advances in Systems Biology, Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology. With its headquarter in Basel, Switzerland, the D-BSSE is situated in the heart of the Biovalley, a tri-national region hosting 40% of the global life science industry including several pharma giants, which provides a unique environment for high-leverage translational research. For a new initiative in Synthetic Biology-Inspired Treatment Strategies we are looking for PhD and PostDoc candidates who have a strong background in electrical engineering and bioelectronics to design bioelectronic devices that interface with human cells and program their behavior for biomedical applications. Using state-of-the-art Synthetic Biology principles, bioelectronic devices and human designer cells will merge to shape the treatment strategies of the future. Please consult our current work for further information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=fussenegger+m.

For any drug-based therapy, precise control of dosage is essential for success. Cell-based therapies employing implanted and encapsulated designer cells are considered promising concepts that enable an in-situ production of therapeutics based on optogenetic or electrogenetic stimuli. Collaborative approach. This project runs in a collaborative format with IBM Research - Zurich to develop an implant device equipped with opto- and electrogenetic trigger mechanisms and electrochemical sensing modalities to stimulate and feedback-control the production of mammalian hormones. The goal of the project is to design and fabricate an implant device including an optically and electrically addressable cultivation chamber with microfluidic components inside a biocompatible embodiment. A microprocessing unit allows the hormone production to be feedback-controlled based on both internal and external sensors. The device will communicate further with artificial intelligence algorithms for remote control of the gene expression in future gene- and cell-based therapies. This multi-faceted project involves the design, fabrication and characterization of micro/nanofluidic systems, development and ex-vivo testing of on-chip control logic, production rates, control algorithms and communication as well as exploring new biosynthetic pathways. This ETH-IBM collaborative project is embedded in a highly interdisciplinary and international research environment with links electronics, chemistry, biology and medicine. The work place will be in Basel at the ETH Zurich Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) with regular exchange presence at IBM Research - Zurich in. The project will further benefit from the fabrication facility at IBM's Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center.

The successful candidates are exceptionally motivated and highly skilled to work at the interface of electrical and genetic engineering. S/he is capable of designing or implementing low-power low-noise bioelectronic and sensor interface circuitry to produce bioelectronic devices that will bidirectionally interact with human cells. We expect an outstanding study record (PhD students) and publication record (Post-Docs) as well as the ambition to pursue an academic career or initiate spin-off activities.


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