ESR 10: Role of macrophages on vascularisation and repair/regeneration of bio-engineered human skin – Switzerland

This vacancy is closed

Host institution: University of Zurich (UZH), Switzerland


  • Main supervisor: Dr. Agnes Klar (UZH, Tissue Biology Research Unit)
  • Co-supervisor: Dr. Thomas Biedermann (UZH, Tissue Biology Research Unit)

Enrolment PhD training program: UZH

Planned secondments:

Brief description:

Tissue macrophages are necessary for scar-free tissue regeneration of skin in Acomys cahirinus. Depletion of macrophages in this model, prior to and during injury, inhibit blastema formation and regeneration, thus demonstrating the necessity for these cells. In this project, we want to investigate the role of distinct types of macrophages on the vascularisation and the healing response of bio-engineered human skin, in order to propagate a pro-healing macrophage response and scar-free skin tissue regeneration. Three main objectives for this project are:

  • Preparation of skin grafts and polarisation of macrophages. The ESR will generate human dermo-epidermal skin grafts. Human classically activated, inflammatory macrophages (M1) and alternatively activated, tissue repair macrophages (M2), where two types of M2 macrophages will be investigated.
  • Investigation of the influence of skin grafts with macrophages on their in vitro and in vivo behaviour. Keratinocytes, fibroblasts, endothelial cells and macrophages will be included in the dermal compartment of the human skin graft. Analyses will be undertaken on pre-vascularised grafts, both in vitro and in vivo after transplantation on immuno-deficient rats. For the in vitro analysis, focus will lie on the impact of differently polarised macrophage subsets on dermal capillary formation.
  • In vitro screening for novel skin pro- and anti-fibrotic factors secreted by different macrophage subsets. From Objective 2, we will learn which macrophage subsets lead to an anti-fibrotic, non-scarring response. In this objective, we will identify anti-fibrotic factors secreted by those macrophages in vitro.

Project specific requirements:

  • MSc in Life Science/(Bio)chemistry/Biomedical sciences/Biology or similar
  • Expertise in the following areas is highly recommendable: immunofluorescence assays, (immune)histology, (confocal) microscopy, FACS, cell culture, and animal research
  • Permission to work with animals is a benefit
  • Note that this ESR position requires additional application for the Life Science Zurich Graduate School of UZH: