PhD/Postdoc Position in High-Throughput Droplet-Based Microfluidics for Screening of Infectious Diseases

Catholic University of Leuven Division of Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors

The Division of Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors (MeBioS) performs groundbreaking research on innovative sensor technologies and the associated data analysis methods to understand and control the quality of products and ongoing processes. The Biomimetics research group focuses on replicating biological functions via engineered micro- and nano-systems for biomedical applications.

Project

Recent years have seen a surge in the development of microfluidic platforms for a wide diversity of applications, from diagnostics to new fundamental science studies. Microdroplet-based platforms (a particular branch of microfluidics capable of generating and manipulating identical, fL to nL-sized droplets at kHz rates) has spearheaded several revolutionary High-Throughput Screening (HTS) assays, notably for applications in single cell omics. Yet, other promising HTS applications of droplet-based microfluidics (such as drug screening and massively parallized screens) remain largely untapped due to technological limitations of current droplet generation and screening strategies.

This project aims to develop several droplet-based techniques to solve the aforementioned limitations and demonstrate the feasibility to carry out PCR-based assays towards affordable screening of infectious diseases at population lel:

  • Designing, manufacturing and testing of novel microfluidic devices capable of rapid and multiplexed droplet formation.
  • Testing and applying amelioration strategies for stable droplet storage and prevention of payload leakage/droplet cross-talk.
  • Setting up and operation of droplet screening systems and lab automation devices (e.g. liquid handling systems, flow cytometers).
  • Develop novel optofluidic systems for ultra-highthroughput screening of droplet contents.

Profile

Are you an energetic person, able to both think critically and creatively in scientific terms while also being effective at overcoming technical challenges?

Are you keen on working at the crossroads of several disciplines (from engineering to biomedicine)? Then you may be the perfect scientist to join our team.

The ideal candidate will already possess several of the following skills:

  • Expert knowledge of microfluidic technologies, ideally with a strong focus on droplet-based techniques.
  • Robust experience in spectroscopic techniques (specially fluorescence strategies for multicolor imaging).
  • Experience in developing automated control systems and programming (in either Matlab, Python or C++), preferably in the area of automated liquid hanlding devices.
  • Language skills: ENGLISH: Excellent; DUTCH: of advantage for the interaction within the University, however not required.
  • Candidates have to be hard working, enthusiastic and intelligent with a strong interest in technology development.
  • You have a talent for conceiving advanced experimental set-ups and can realize them in a target-oriented manner.
Important: PhD applicants interested in this position must hold a MS degree (in Mechanical / Chemical / Industrial Engineering or similar) from an European university or obtain an accreditation via NARIC (https://www.naricvlaanderen.be) no later than 5 months after the start of the position. Although priority will be given to PhD candidates, postdoctoral candidates with a strong fit for the position who have not been engaged in a principal activity (work, studies, etc.) in Belgium for more than 24 months in the last 3 years are also strongly encouraged to apply.

Offer

  • We offer a full-time PhD (or postdoctoral) position for 1 year. After a positive evaluation, the contract can be extended to 3 additional years (4 years in total).
  • Excellent guidance by our young, dynamic and multidisciplinary team.
  • State of the art research infrastructure.
  • A challenging job in a young, dynamic environment.
  • High level scientific training at a top-ranked university.
  • Being part of world-class research groups working on a high visibility European Project.
  • Remuneration according to the KU Leuven salary scales. PhD: https://www.kuleuven.be/english/research/associatienet/phd     Postdoc: https://www.kuleuven.be/english/research/associatienet/postdoc.

Interested?

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Xevi Casadevall i Solvas, tel.: +32 16 37 71 03, mail: xevi.casadevall@kuleuven.be.

You can apply for this job no later than November 30, 2022 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: November 30, 2022
  • Tags: Biosystemen
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