PhD-fellow in Mussel-inspired thin-films for tissue regeneration

PhD-fellow in Mussel-inspired thin-films for tissue regeneration

26 Nov 2020

ICN2 has published 10 PhD Student open positions under the INPhINIT programme for doing a PhD in a selected research group. Nanosfun is hiring a highly motivated candidate for the project entitled:

Mussel-Inspired Thin-Films for Tissue Regeneration

Apply before 4th February 2021!

One of the main activities of the Nanosfun group is focused on the development of polymeric nanoparticles and coatings for health and social welfare. For this, we embrace mostly, though not exclusively:

• Nanoparticles for diagnosis and therapy.
• Fine-tuning of the hydrophobic/hydrophilic balance, biocompatibility or other additional properties via surface (bio)functionalization.
• Thin-films for the regeneration of human cells/tissues allowing for the proper functioning of organs or surgical adhesives and appliance bonding.

To achieve all these objectives, polymers represent the leading biomaterials so far used. They can be designed with a range of architecture, functionalities and appropriate characteristics.

Mussel-Inspired Thin-Films for Tissue Regeneration


Research Project:

In recent years, tissue regeneration has become one of the main branches of medicine aiming to solve a multitude of pathologies caused by irreversible tissue degeneration (necrosis due to heart attacks, damage of tissue due to osteoarthritis or osteoporosis, wounds or burns, and loss of activity of the nervous system, among others). In the literature, there are several examples of biomaterials intended for tissue regeneration. However, their transfer to the clinic has not been reported due to limiting problems (high cost of production, toxicity, multistage processes and low regenerative activity). For this reason, a more significant effort is necessary for the development of new materials with outstanding characteristics. In this scenario, bioinspired materials can demonstrate their great potential. Specifically, materials based on catechol molecules, which are found in various living organisms (e.g. mussels), have unprecedented properties such as adhesion in wet conditions, biocompatibility, available chemical anchor points for (bio)molecules of interest and low production cost, among others. These excellent features make bioinspired catechol-based materials unique for its potential use in tissue regeneration.

Specific case of bone and cartilage regeneration

Recently, Nanosfun has developed a straightforward strategy for the fabrication of functional platforms showing promising capabilities. The systems are obtained from the one-pot reaction of catechol derivatives that allows producing a family of membranes of relevance in medicine. These membranes can be easily manipulated and have been shown to be biocompatible as well as allowing cell proliferation and adhesion in biological tissue.

Job position description:

Different bioinspired polymers will be produced, allowing for the inclusion of functionalities depending on the final application (e.g. antibodies, growth factors and specific markers, among others). The candidate will explore in deep the formation and multifunctionalization of these bioinspired platforms for their application in regenerative medicine. Taking into account the characteristics of the membranes, we are planning their validation in different tissues, such as skin (to produce artificial skin to regenerate tissue damaged by a wound or burn), heart (to regenerate affected tissue after a heart attack) or neurons (to promote neuronal stimulation and regeneration). With the establishment of this research line, Nanosfun is investing many efforts in establishing a collaborative network with different research groups and hospitals. Among others, Nanosfun collaborates with the Protein Engineering and Proteomics group of the Institut de Biotecnolgia i Biomedicina (IBB-UAB) where we can perform in vitro tests with different cell lines that allows us to complement the facilities offered by ICN2 in Materials Science. At the Hospital level, collaboration has been established with the University of Medicine of Vienna, Sant Joan de Deu, Vall d’Hebron and Sant Pau Hospitals. This growing collaboration network environment allows us almost to cover all the necessary needs to validate our developed technologies with the aim of their clinical translation.

Due to the multidisciplinary nature of this PhD Thesis, which ranges from chemical synthesis, characterization of new materials and their final application in medicine, the candidate will obtain excellent knowledge and skills that will complete his/her research formation, incentivizing his/her future career.

INPhINIT is a doctoral fellowship programme devoted to attracting international Early-Stage Researchers to the top Spanish research centres. This frame is addressed exclusively to STEM disciplines: life sciences and health, experimental sciences, physics, chemistry and mathematics. The “la Caixa” Foundation promotes INPhINIT to support the best scientific talent and fostering innovative and high-quality research in Spain by recruiting outstanding international students and offering them an attractive and competitive environment for conducting research of excellence.

Check the position here!

All the information and applications:

All applications must be necessarily through the website. Other forms of application are not going to be considered.

Deadline: 4 February 2021