Regenerative Medicine Utrecht

Internships for Master students

Functionalization of hydrogels for increased cell survival in neocartillage – Malda group

The project

Our aim is to engineer auricular cartilage by stimulating cells carried in a 3D hydrogel to differentiate and produce high-quality neotissue. However, one of the major problems in tissue engineering of cell-laden constructs is the availability of oxygen and other essential nutrients for cells to survive, proliferate and differentiate. In the absence of a vascular component, the center of engineered 3D cartilage constructs becomes necrotic. This project is aimed at providing a secondary supply of oxygen throughout the engineered cartilage construct by functionalizing the hydrogel with an oxygen-carrying component. Under adequate supervision, the student will experiment with functionalization strategies and assess the degree of functionalization. In addition, cell-laden constructs will be generated using 3D printing techniques to evaluate central necrosis using non-functionalized and functionalized hydrogels. This is a project of minimum 6 months in which the student learns many different techniques, has the opportunity to work quite independently (of course with adequate supervision), and works towards publication. This research is carried out at the Department of Orthopaedics, UMC Utrecht (located in the Regenerative Medicine Center Utrecht, Uppsalalaan 8).

The student

This project requires a masters student with a background in biomedical sciences or regenerative medicine & technology with creativity, enthusiasm and commitment to the project. Furthermore, responsible behavior and a professional attitude is required.

The perks

You will have the opportunity to learn and work in the shiny new labs of the Regenerative Medicine Center. You will learn many different techniques, including working with hydrogels, cell culture, histology, biochemistry, mechanical testing, UV-vis spectroscopy, and possibly 3D printing.  Depending on the outcome of the research, you have the opportunity to star in the author list of a scientific publication. We have a large and diverse research group, which is inspiring and fun, and interactions with other labs and institutions.

Interested students can email to i.a.otto@umcutrecht.nl.