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Apply by: 2022-07-15

PhD position Computational modeling cardiovascular cell-tissue interaction

Published 2022-06-20

Push the frontier of the current understanding of the structure-function relationship in soft biological tissues.

The aim of this PhD project is to develop, implement, verify, calibrate, and validate a microstructurally and functionally informed computational framework that enables quantifying the biomechanical response of cardiovascular tissues using finite element analysis. In particular, a multiscale model will be developed to link the tissue biomechanics to cell mechanobiology (cell-matrix interaction). The outcomes of the developed framework will be leveraged to investigate the acute and long-term response of cardiovascular tissues to varying biomechanical stimuli.
Within this project, the PhD candidate is expected to operate within a multidisciplinary team of engineers, biomedical scientists, and clinicians. The outcomes of this project will be disseminated to the scientific community and to a general audience through presentations at (inter-) national conferences and through publications in peer-reviewed journals. Additionally, the candidate is expected to take part in educational activities within the department (assist in teaching, act as a mentor for master students, supervise master thesis work, … ).

The PhD candidate will be jointly supervised by dr. ir. B. Fereidoonnezhad and dr. ir. M. Peirlinck at the department of Biomechanical Engineering, Delft University of Technology. Our labs have a strong network of national and international collaborators in both academia and industry.

Keywords: biomechanics, cell-extracellular matrix interaction, finite element method, discrete fiber modeling, growth and remodeling, representative volume elements, homogenisation.

We are looking for a highly-motivated candidate to conduct doctoral research focusing on computational modeling of soft tissue biomechanics.
➔    You have a strong interest in both mechanics and biology (in particular for cardiovascular tissue behavior and properties) and want to be involved in multidisciplinary research.
➔    You hold or are about to obtain a MSc degree in mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, aerospace engineering, or equivalent.
➔    You have a background in computational mechanics and finite element analysis.
➔    You have hands-on experience with finite element software (ABAQUS, COMSOL, or equivalent).
➔    You demonstrate a good level of programming skills (C++, Fortran, Python, or equivalent).
➔    You are creative, take initiative, and are a team player.
➔    You have good communication skills and are fluent in both written and spoken English*.

Highly desirable:
➔    Experience with nonlinear material modeling and continuum thermodynamics.
➔    Experience with multiscale modeling
Please highlight your specific skills for this position explicitly in your motivation letter. Motivation letters that do not address any of these requirements will not be considered.   
*Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.
Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2443 per month in the first year to € 3122 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.
The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

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Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
The Faculty of 3mE carries out pioneering research, leading to new fundamental insights and challenging applications in the field of mechanical engineering. From large-scale energy storage, medical instruments, control technology and robotics to smart materials, nanoscale structures and autonomous ships. The foundations and results of this research are reflected in outstanding, contemporary education, inspiring students and PhD candidates to become socially engaged and responsible engineers and scientists. The faculty of 3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with an international scope and high-tech lab facilities. Research and education focus on the design, manufacture, application and modification of products, materials, processes and mechanical devices, contributing to the development and growth of a sustainable society, as well as prosperity and welfare.

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For more information about the selection procedure, please contact Anita Van Vianen, HR advisor, email: application-3mE@tudelft.nl.
For more information about this specific position, please contact dr. ir. Mathias Peirlinck (mplab-3me (at) tudelft dot nl) and dr. ir. Behrooz Fereidoonnezhad (b dot fereidoonnezhad (at) tudelft dot nl).