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Faculty of Natural Sciences
Department of Physics

PhD Research Fellowship in 3D Biomimetic Models of Bone

A PhD position is available at the Department of Physics within the division of Biophysics and Medical Technology. The position is financed by the Research Council of Norway and has special responsibility for the project “Novel multiscale structuring techniques for 3D biomimetic scaffolds applied to bone tissue models”. The appointment has a duration of 3 years with the possibility of a 1 year extension with 25% teaching duties in agreement with the Department.


Information about the department

The position is organized in the Department of Physics. Currently, there are 26 professors, 10 associate professors, 7 adjunct professors, 52 PhD research fellows and 14 postdoctoral/ research positions appointed at the Department of Physics. Our research spans a broad spectrum of natural sciences and technology, which in turn allows us to offer an education that, provides a solid basis for future careers. Physics research is carried out in experimental as well as theoretical fields, often across conventional boundaries between disciplines. Our central research areas are biophysics, nanoscience, surface physics, modern optics, astrophysics, solar energy, materials science, and medical technology. Research staff at the department makes a special effort to increase the awareness and understanding of the importance and impact of physics in our society. Further information is available at: https://www.ntnu.edu/physics/


Project overview

New solutions are needed to rebuild diseased or damaged tissues and organs when surgical or pharmaceutical therapies do not work. The scientific fields of biomaterials and tissue engineering work towards this goal by bringing together innovations in materials science and biology to improve healing and regenerate bodily functions.


When a new material or device is invented, its safety in the human body must of course be rigorously tested. Before testing can even be considered in humans, it is necessary to test the materials first in the laboratory using cells and then if the results are good, in animals. Unfortunately, there is often little correlation between the results obtained for cells and between animals and humans. The development process can therefore be protracted and expensive, and also maybe misleading. Therefore there is a huge need to develop better laboratory models based on cells that better predict outcomes in humans, and ideally cut out animal testing all together.


One of the main reasons cell based studies do not work as well as they could is that testing takes place in 2D under simulated body conditions which fail to replicate the complexity of the body, where cells live in 3D. This project seeks to design and build a laboratory based cell testing platform which better mimics the conditions of the body, taking bone as a model tissue. The ambitious approach is to use new techniques developed at NTNU to structure both hard and soft materials in 3D, and in combination with different cell types, to create a synthetic structures that mimic the physical and biological aspects of bone. This structure will be designed in such a way that it can be analysed using a variety of different characterisation techniques, thereby improving our repertoire of models of the human body.


Work description for the PhD fellowship

This research activity for the PhD project will focus on the development of techniques to structure both hard and soft biomaterials in a cell compatible way using a combination of techniques such as droplet based microfluidics, 3D printing, chemical precipitation and layer by layer assembly. The aim will be to create a modular assembly that can be characterised by contemporary physical and biological methods and assays, e.g. various advanced microscopy techniques, relevant cell biology tools and image processing.


Detailed information on our PhD programs is found at: http://www.ntnu.edu/nv/phd


We seek highly motivated candidates with a relevant MSc (or equivalent) in nanotechnology, physics, materials science, biomaterials, or related disciplines, and a documented background in experimental work relevant for the project. A background in 3D printing, hydrogels, microfluidics and / or cell culture will be considered an advantage.


The successful candidate should be creative, independent and self-motivated. He/she should also enjoy interdisciplinary research and take keen interest in learning and working in teams. The project will involve significant international collaboration with partners in the UK and the Netherlands, therefore frequent travel and some study periods abroad should be expected. The successful candidate should have excellent verbal and written communication skills in English.


The regulations for PhD programmes at NTNU state that a Master degree or equivalent with at least 5 years of studies and an average grade of A or B within a scale of A-E for passing grades (A best) for the two last years of the MSc is required. Candidates from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a Diploma Supplement or a similar document, which describes in detail the study and grade system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree:



The position requires spoken and written fluency in the English language. Applicants from non-English-speaking countries outside Europe must document English skills by an approved test. Approved tests are TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).



Terms of employment

The appointment of the PhD fellow will be made according to Norwegian guidelines for universities and university colleges and to the general regulations regarding university employees. Applicants must agree to participate in organized doctoral study programs within the period of the appointment and have to be qualified for the PhD-study.


NTNU’s personnel policy objective is that the staff must reflect the composition of the population to the greatest possible extent.


The position as PhD is remunerated according to the Norwegian State salary scale. There is a 2% deduction for superannuation contribution.



The application

Please submit an application letter describing your motivation, relevant experience, skills and qualifications and a brief research vision for the position (maximum 2 pages) along with a CV (maximum 2 pages), publication list, two letters of reference and proof of fluency in the English language (if applicable) and certificates from both Bachelor and Master degrees. Copies of additional documents e.g.transcripts, etc. may be requested at a later stage.


Applications must be submitted electronically through www.jobbnorge.no.

Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered.


Further information regarding the position and application process can be obtained from Dr David Bassett, Department of Physics, NTNU, Tel. +47 735 93353, E-mail: david.bassett@ntnu.no


Further information about the Division of Biophysics and Medical Technology can be found at https://www.ntnu.edu/physics/biophysmedtech


Application deadline: 28.05.2017

The reference number of the position is: NV-70/17

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    28. mai 2017
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