ESR 1: Construction and evaluation of informative scaffolds for scarless skin regeneration – The Netherlands

This vacancy is closed

Host institution: Radboud university medical center (Radboudumc), The Netherlands


  • Main supervisor: Dr. Willeke Daamen (Radboudumc, Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, Department of Biochemistry)
  • Co-supervisor: Dr. Toin van Kuppevelt (Radboudumc, Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, Department of Biochemistry)

Enrolment PhD training program: Radboudumc

Planned secondments:

Brief description:

Large skin lesions generally heal with disfiguring scar formation and disabilitating contractions. The ESR will prepare informative biomaterials that contain specific extracellular matrix and effector molecules (matrix proteins/polysaccharides, growth factors/cytokines) that are associated with scarless healing. Next to natural biomolecules, synthetic components that have been shown to stimulate skin regeneration will be applied (e.g. glycosaminoglycan mimetics). This will add to the production of commercially viable smart scaffolds.

The project is divided into three specific objectives:

  • Construction of scaffolds mimicking the (non-scarring) foetal skin microenvironment and their biochemical, biomechanical and morphological analysis.
  • In vitro analysis of scaffolds to select the most promising scaffold for scarless healing, using primary fibroblasts (obtained from partner VUMC) and macrophages (from partner UZH). Analyses include qPCR and (immune)histochemistry for evaluation of components that are reduced/absent in scarless healing (e.g. smooth muscle actin, decorin, engrailed),  and components that are upregulated in skin regeneration (e.g. MMPs, hyaluronan, type III and type V collagens). From these studies the two best performing scaffolds will be selected for further evaluation.
  • In vivo analysis of scaffolds for scarless skin regeneration in a rat skin wound model, where scarless skin regeneration without wound contraction is evaluated by macroscopic analysis, qPCR, and (immune)histochemistry. Scaffolds will be applied in combination with specific wound dressing materials that may enhance the regeneration process (cooperation with partner HARTMANN), and compared to untreated wounds.

Project specific requirements:

  • MSc in Life Science/(Bio)chemistry/Biomedical sciences/Biology or similar
  • Expertise in the following areas is highly recommendable: general protein biochemistry, glycobiology, cell culture, (immune)histology, HPLC, and animal research
  • Permission to work with animals (art. 9) is a benefit