PhD Position in the Synthetic Morphogenesis group (IBEC, TU/e)

Application Deadline: 15/12/2020
Ref: PH- VC

The Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) in collaboration with the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e, Eindhoven – Netherlands) are seeing an ambitious PhD Candidate to investigate the morphogenesis of living tissues from the computational perspective. The successful candidate will carry out computational research with the Synthetic Morphogenesis group under the supervision of Dr Vito Conte across both institutions at the interface between Biology, Physics, Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Sciences. This multidisciplinary doctoral research will be carried out in collaboration with Dr Jose Muñoz at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC, Barcelona – Spain) and will be part of greater efforts aiming at establishing a new Platform for the Live-Quantification of Cell and Tissue Mechanics across the IBEC and the TU/e.

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Job Description

The successful PhD candidate will be employed at the IBEC in Barcelona under Spanish law. The PhD student is expected to carry out his/her multidisciplinary research project across both the IBEC and the TU/e, to write a doctoral thesis and to publish research results in scientific journals. Importantly, the successful candidate is expected and must be willing to spend extensive periods of time in Barcelona (Spain) and/or in Eindhoven (the Netherlands) depending on the necessities dictated by the doctoral project. An extensive educational and professional development program is offered to all PhD students in both institutions. A small part of the position may involve teaching in courses offered by the group as well as to contribute to the co-supervision of bachelor and master students in both institutions.

The PhD student will generate new computational algorithms and models to quantify, emulate and predict the mechanical cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions within biological tissues that undergo morphogenetic processes. The inquiry will combine advanced computational modelling with results proceeding from advanced image-analysis methods and experimental techniques for cellular force inference. The PhD student will build on pre-established computational algorithms to further develop new methodological approaches for the handling of novel experimental setups currently unavailable in the field. This research is strongly based on and interconnected with experimental data produced in the laboratories of the Synthetic Morphogenesis Group and will require constant interaction with our team of biotechnologists and bioengineers. This doctoral research will not require access to the biology laboratory nor the performing of any kind of biological experiments – this doctoral investigation is fully computer-based (i.e. in silico).


Job requirements

We are looking for a dynamic, enthusiastic and motivated student with a solid background in computational (bio)physics or computational (bio)engineering (or related discipline), interested in working within a multi-disciplinary environment at the interface with biology.

Candidate’s requirements must include:

  • Master’s degree and excellent academic records any computational discipline such as (bio)Physics, (bio)Engineering or (bio)Mathematics (or similar discipline).
  • Programming skills (e.g. Matlab and/or C and/or Fortran and/or Python or similar).
  • Willingness to learn new skills in a highly multidisciplinary environment at the interface between Biology, Physics, Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.
  • Ability to effectively communicate scientific ideas, foster collaborations.
  • Capability for independent, critical and analytical thinking.
  • Ability to work independently within a dynamic team;
  • Very high proficiency in written and spoken English.

Candidates must have obtained a university master’s degree by the time of their incorporation/appointment into the doctoral program or must hold an official university qualification from a country of the European Higher Education Area with a minimum of 300 ECTs of official university studies.


Working at the IBEC

The Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) is an interdisciplinary research center focused on Bioengineering and Nanomedicine based in Barcelona. IBEC is one of the top research institutions named as a Severo Ochoa Research Centre by the Ministry of Science, Universities and Innovation, which recognizes excellence at the highest international level in terms of research, training, human resources, outreach and technology transfer.

IBEC’s mission is to develop international high-quality interdisciplinary research that, while creating knowledge, contributes to making a better quality of life, improving health and creating wealth. A close link with key universities, reference hospitals and corporations, are assets that facilitate achieving the mission.

IBEC was established in 2005 by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Autonomous Government of Catalonia), the University of Barcelona (UB) and the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC).

IBEC is located within the Barcelona Science Park and is managing 3.800 square meters facilities, 21 research groups and a team of researchers and support services of 300 people from 30 different countries.

During his/her placement at the IBEC in Spain, doctoral research will be performed under the supervision of Dr Vito Conte (Synthetic Morphogenesis Group) and the co-supervision of Dr Elena Martinez (Biomimetic Systems for Cell Engineering Group).

Working conditions at the IBEC include:

  • Full time 4-year PhD studentship.
  • Measures to reconcile work and family life (maternity and paternity leave, flexible schedule working hours, teleworking, 23 working days of paid holidays, 9 leave days for personal matters, among others).
  • A variety of activities to help your personal and professional development: trainings in technical and transferable skills, mobility grants, mentoring program, participation in outreach activities
  • IBEC’s active PhD Students’ Committee will help you to quickly integrate in the institute’s dynamic working environment and grow your network of both colleagues and friends.
  • Stimulating, interdisciplinary research and high-quality international scientific environment.
  • Induction program to facilitate incorporation at IBEC and additional support is provided for foreigners to obtain Visa-working permit and to settle in Barcelona.

Working at the TU/e

TU/e is a University of Technology with a focus on Health, Energy and Mobility. Within the Health area, several departments cooperate on topics such as Chemical Biology, Regenerative Medicine, Computational Biology, and Biosensing, with close links to healthcare and industry. TU/e is an open and inclusive university with short communication lines. The people are curious, collaborative, and strive for excellence. TU/e enables its academic staff to develop research and education at an internationally renowned level. Our lively campus community facilitates connections between staff and students, in an open, friendly, vibrant atmosphere that welcomes and inspires.

During his/her placement at the TU/e, the PhD student will be affiliated to the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME). The BME Department research areas range from Molecular Bioengineering and Imaging, Biomechanics and Tissue Engineering to Biomedical Imaging and Modelling. The department has more than 800 students and up to 200 tenured and non-tenured employees. During the placement at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands, doctoral research will be performed in the Department of Biomedical Engineering under the supervision of Dr Vito Conte (Synthetic Morphogenesis Group) and the co-supervision of Prof. Carlijn Bouten (Soft Tissue Engineering and Mechanobiology Unit).


Application and Selection Process at the IBEC

The application and selection process will be conducted at the IBEC, where the successful candidate will be employed under Spanish law for the duration of the doctorate. If you wish to apply, please send your application via email to: (Reference: PHD-SM) before 15/12/2020. The application must include: i) your CV (including the names of two/three referees); ii) a one-page cover letter; iii) your BSc and MSc university transcripts (including courses taken and grades). Only complete applications will be considered. Screening of applicants will start as soon as applications are received and will continue until the position has been filled. The IBEC is committed to the principles of the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers of the European Commission and the Open, Transparent and Merit based Recruitment principles. Thus, there are no restrictions of citizenship or gender and candidates with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.


Further Information