The Laboratory for Bone Biomechanics headed by Prof. Ralph Müller at the Department of Health Sciences & Technology, Institute for Biomechanics at ETH Zurich is offering
PhD Positions in 3D Bioprinting and Multiscale Modeling of Personalized Bone Organoids
The aim of the research is to develop a human-based 3D bioprinted bone organoid model that mimics tissue remodeling of healthy or osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) individuals and to investigate OI pathomechanisms. One of the major challenges in OI patients today is to diminish the risk of bone fractures. OI is a genetically heterogeneous inherited disorder of bone matrix formation and remodeling, characterized by pain and recurrent fractures, impairment in ambulation, short stature and multiple skeletal complications. Currently, there are no pharmacological interventions available that effectively treat or prevent fractures or limb deformities. Animal and in vitro experimental models used as test beds for new pharmacological/implants interventions do not allow a deep understanding of pathomechanisms behind the disease. To facilitate a better approximation to the in vivo situation in humans, in this project, we aim at the development of personalized 3D-bioprinted bone organoids for genetically distinct forms of osteogenesis imperfecta to investigate i) the pathophysiology and the biomechanics of OI bone and ii) the bone fracture repair process in order to find novel treatments for personalized bone repair in OI patients. In addition, computational models can assist in the elucidation of the effects of pharmacological treatments and studying the biological complexity quantitatively while reducing simultaneously time and costs compared to animal studies. The positions will be based at ETH Zurich in close collaboration with the University’s Children Hospital in Zurich. The overall goal of the project is to improve the clinical care for patients affected by osteogenesis imperfecta and provide individualized, evidence-based therapy, rehabilitation, and surgical interventions.
For this highly interdisciplinary project, we currently offer two PhD positions enrolled in the graduate program at ETH Zurich. The successful candidate for the experimental part of the project will hold a master’s degree in Biology, Health Sciences and Technology, Life Sciences or similar field. The candidate should have a strong background in cell and molecular biology. Knowledge in 3D-bioprinting and tissue engineering is advantageous but not required. The successful candidate for the computational part of the project will hold a master’s degree in Computational Sciences, Interdisciplinary Sciences, Electrical, Chemical or Mechanical Engineering or similar field and has preferentially a background in imaging, image processing and computational modeling. Knowledge in computer programing (preferentially Python) is advantageous but not required. It is essential that candidates are willing and motivated to work at the interface between biological, engineering and clinical research. Additionally, excellent communication skills in English (oral and written) are required. Knowledge of German is advantageous for the clinical interactions but not absolutely required.