Skip to content  

Working at TU/e

PhD in Growth Plate Modulation of Soft Tissue Remodelling

PhD in Growth Plate Modulation of Soft Tissue Remodelling

Are you eager to understand how growth plate morphogens can modulate remodelling in the growing disc and whether this could result in scoliosis?
Biomedical Engineering
Date off
Reference number

Job description

This vacancy is posted as part of an ERC Advanced Award, Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS): a Perfect Storm of Functional Anatomy, Biomechanics and Mechanobiology during Growth? (ScoliStorm). AIS is a 3D deformity of the spine affecting previously healthy children, substantially reducing their quality of life and creating a life-long burden of disease. Till now, no curative treatment exists partly because its cause and disease mechanism are still unknown. ScoliStorm will create a paradigm shift in AIS research by uncovering its complex perfect storm of anatomical, biomechanical and mechanobiological causes in the intervertebral disc.

Unique from all other mammal, humans have an apophyseal vertebral growth plate adjacent to the disc. During adolescence, this growth plate is extremely active and undergoes closure. Currently we do not understand how the powerful growth plate morphogens could affect the adjacent disc and whether this could lead to altered disc remodelling and deformation. We will use in vitro cell/micro-tissue and ex vivo motion segment culture platforms, combined with gene- and protein- micro-arrays, HPLC, various microscopy methods with quantitative image analyses, laser capture micro-dissection and single cell analyses techniques. You will contribute to a multi-disciplinary team of biomedical engineers, imaging scientists and spine surgeons, from the student to senior level, working on engineering, biological, imaging and clinical studies. Together we will strive to elucidate the causes for AIS and identify predictive triggers to prevent and treat scoliosis in these unfortunate children.

About Eindhoven University of Technology (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.

Biomedical Engineering

The Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) offers a research driven BME Bachelor program and Masters in Biomedical Engineering and Medical Engineering in its Graduate Program. Its 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.

The research will be mainly conducted within the Orthopaedic Biomechanics (OPB) group in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

The OPB group, headed by prof.dr. K. Ito, combines engineering and biology to expand our understanding of musculoskeletal tissues and to develop (regenerative) treatment strategies. They cover diverse topics in bone, intervertebral disc and tendons/ligaments, as well as articular cartilage. The group is well known for their multidisciplinary approach combining tissue mechanics, mechanobiology, tissue and biomaterial mechanics, ex vivo bioreactor platforms and computational models to optimize tissue conditions for regenerative engineering. The group houses the Cell and Tissue Engineering laboratory, a shared research infrastructure operating at the international forefront of the engineering of living, load-bearing tissues. 

Job requirements

  • A master’s degree (or an equivalent university degree) in biomedical engineering, biophysics, biomedical sciences or a comparable domain.
  • Experience and knowledge of tissue biomechanics is appreciated.
  • A research-oriented attitude.
  • Ability to work in a team and <interested in collaborating with the industrial partners>.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English.

Conditions of employment

  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months.
  • To develop your teaching skills, you will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will make a Training and Supervision plan and you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • Should you come from abroad and comply with certain conditions, you can make use of the so-called ‘30% facility’, which permits you not to pay tax on 30% of your salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.

Information and application

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact
dr. Jasper Foolen (jfoolen[at] or prof. Keita Ito (k.ito[at]

For information about terms of employment, click here or contact Sascha Sanchez, HR advisor, s.j.m.g.sanchez.van.oort[at] or HRServices.Gemini[at]

Please visit to find out more about working at TU/e!


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page.
The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • Brief description of your MSc thesis.

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it. Screening will continue until the position has been filled.

We do not respond to applications that are sent to us in a different way.

Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary, please combine files.