Post-doc fellow in the field of early embryo development within a 3D in vitro oviduct model – Maastricht University (UM) – Maastricht

Maastricht University (UM)

A post-doc position is available within the ERC Starting “OviChip” Project, which has the overall aim to develop a 3D in vitro model of a human Fallopian Tube (an “on chip” model) and study it’s function and dysfunction.

The fallopian tube, otherwise known as the oviduct, is a critical structure within the female productive tract, directing the early stages of oocyte migration and directing the final leg of sperm cell migration. It also serves as the site for oocyte fertilization and early embryo development.

The post-doc will work on using a developed 3D oviduct model to study the impact of the oviduct microenvironment on early embryo development. The post-doc will be expected to lead efforts relating to the isolation of mouse embryos and establishing assessment methodologies relating specifically to early embryo development. They would also support a parallel PhD projects that focus on immune response and on sperm cell migration within the same model. Embryos will be introduced into an existing oviduct model and assessed in terms of cell cleavage rate and embryo stress, chromosomal abnormalities, demethylation, and any other readouts that become relevant during the course of the project; there is a particular emphasis on the use of multiphoton
microscopy to expand and facilitate real-time monitoring capabilities. Variables of the Fallopian tube model to consider include the epithelial cell composition, hormone state, immune state, and mechanical flow regimes within the oviduct; the candidate may perform further technical development of the 3D model as needed to address specific research questions.

The candidate is also expected to participate and guide the work of other team members of the project, especially where more advanced biological readout would be beneficial. This includes the aforementioned work of a PhD candidate on sperm migration within this model as well as ongoing work to establish the impact of tubal pathologies (e.g. Chlamydia) on embryo development.

Research Environment
Research at CTR is driven by technology development for the fabrication and assessment of biological constructs. The resources and technologies at the department for these activities include:

  • Additive manufacturing technologies for building functional 3D scaffolds, such as 3D fiber deposition, bioprinting, and digital light processing;
  • Engineering of artificial cellular microenvironments and of in vitro 3D tissue and organ analogues by new biomaterial formulations (e.g. hydrogels);
  • Fluidic organ-on-chip technologies, including fluidic chip design, fabrication, assembly and the design and implementation of perfusion systems
  • Advanced microscopy, including multiphoton, confocal, and widefield fluorescence microscopy with advanced capabilities regarding automatic live cell imaging, real-time image analysis and adaptive acquisition
  • A wide range of biochemical, protein, and genomic assays and tools for analysis and modification of cell behaviour. This includes, but not limited to, RT-PCR, Western blot, metabolic assays, plasmid development and reporter cell line generation.
  • Requirements
    Applicants for the Post-doc position in the field of embryo development and 3D in vitro oviduct models (Post-doc 1) should have a M.Sc. degree in biology, and a Ph.D. that has some overlap with the post-doc description. A strong plus will be pastexperience working with animal models for reproduction studies and it is advisable to have expertise in relevant biological readouts and/or some experience using (complex) in vitro mammalian cell culture. In the supporting role for ongoing PhD projects, experience/knowledge relating to the immune system or sperm cells is also considered a strong addition. Excellent and proven knowledge of scientific English, both in speaking, reading, and writing is required.

    The candidate should have a proven outstanding record to be part of an exceptionally skilled team that is being assembled thanks to recent European funding secured by the department. The work will suit a highly ambitious candidate, who like to solve problems, and are at ease with timely deadlines, who like a fast-paced, but friendly and collaborative international environment with new challenges and opportunities for growth. The candidates are expected to disseminate the results through publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at international conferences.

    What we offer
    As Post-doc fellow in the field of early embryo development within a 3D in vitro oviduct model at Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences , you will be employed by the most international university in the Netherlands, located in the beautiful city of Maastricht. In addition, we offer you:

  • Good employment conditions. The position is graded in scale 10 according to UFO profile Researcher, with corresponding salary based on experience ranging from €3226,00 and €5090,00 gross per month (based on a full-time employment of 38 hours per week). In addition to the monthly salary, an 8.0% holiday allowance and an 8.3% year-end bonus apply.
  • An employment contract for a period of 12 months with a scope of 1,0 FTE.
  • At Maastricht University, the well-being of our employees is of utmost importance, we offer flexible working hours and the possibility to work partly from home if the nature of your position allows it. You will receive a monthly commuting and internet allowance for this. If you work full-time, you will be entitled to 29 vacation days and 4 additional public holidays per year, namely carnival Monday, carnival Tuesday, Good Friday, and Liberation Day. If you choose to accumulate compensation hours, an additional 12 days will be added. Furthermore, you can personalize your employment conditions through a collective labor agreement (CAO) choice model.
  • As Maastricht University, we offer various other excellent secondary employment conditions. These include a good pension scheme with the ABP and the opportunity for UM employees to participate in company fitness and make use of the extensive sports facilities that we also offer to our students.
  • Last but certainly not least, we provide the space and facilities for your personal and professional development. We facilitate this by offering a wide range of training programs and supporting various well-established initiatives such as ‘acknowledge and appreciate’.
  • The terms of employment at Maastricht University are largely set out in the collective labor agreement of Dutch Universities. In addition, local provisions specific to UM apply.

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