Development of a hydrogel matrix for cartilage regeneration
Applications for master theses or master internships are welcome.
Growth and replacement of damaged cartilage tissue with the help of groundbreaking 4D printing technology: This is what we are working on in the project TriggerINK. Here, an interactive bio-ink for supporting cartilage regeneration is developed.
Articular cartilage, which covers the surface of bones in joints, plays a crucial role in ensuring smooth and low-friction joint movements, as well as providing adequate shock absorption. Cartilage defects can occur due to sports injuries or age-related conditions such as osteoarthritis. Once the cartilage is damaged, the body's natural regenerative abilities are insufficient, and the damage progresses. Existing technologies for treating cartilage defects fail to restore fully functional cartilage tissue that accurately replicates the native and specialized tissue structure.
As part of the TriggerINK project, you will develop a hydrogel composite material that helps mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to differentiate and rebuild the zonal-specific tissue composition found in native cartilage. By testing various PEG hydrogel compositions (varying the crosslinking density, blending with native polymers), the project aims to identify the most suitable composition that can guide the growth and differentiation of MSCs and result in cartilage-specific extracellular matrix (ECM) depositions.
Your tasks and responsibilities
- Hydrogel fabrications (PEG-based, blended with natural cartilage proteins such as chondroitin sulfate or hyaluronic acid) and characterization of their properties.
- Investigation of the biomaterial’s ability to promote stem cell differentiation and increase cartilage-specific ECM deposition.
- Validation of chondrogenesis (confocal microscopy, qPCR, DNA, and GAG assays, histology).
We are looking for a motivated and enthusiastic student to join our RG De Laporte. You should be enrolled in the master’s program in biotechnology, biology, chemistry, or a related field, with a strong interest in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. A willingness to learn new skills, high proficiency in English (written and spoken), and an independent work manner are highly valued for this position.
This is what we offer
- Opportunity to be part of a cutting-edge research project aimed to solve an unsolved challenge in the field of regenerative medicine.
- Enhance your practical skills in material research, cell biology, and tissue engineering through hands-on experience with state-of-the-art techniques.
- An inclusive and team-oriented work environment in an international, dynamic setting.
- The guidance and support of an experienced team
We look forward to receiving your application!