Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are frequently seen in our western society. In severe cases, patients have to deal with either urinary incontinence or voiding dysfunction, leading to a major decrease of quality of life. Often conventional treatment lacks satisfactory results. Sanitary napkins and incontinence products form a huge part of nursery costs in this population. Tissue engineering might play an important role in the development of more satisfactory treatment of severe lower urinary tract dysfunction.
This project emphasizes on the feasibility of new tissue engineering techniques and technologies to support the regeneration and function of the bladder, bladderneck, sphincter mechanism and pelvic floor structures. Following an in-depth literature study of the background of tissue structure and function at different length scales, as well as current approaches for tissue remodelling and regeneration using bio-functionalized materials, you will propose a strategy for material-based in-situ (cell-free) tissue regeneration of the soft tissues. This includes choice of biomaterial, biomaterial processing into a graft via additive manufacturing, optimization of graft mechanical and degradation properties, and testing of in-vitro cell ingrowth and neo-tissue development in a pristine graft. If possible, the synthetic graft will be compared against decellularized extracellular matrix approaches or a bio-functionalized graft for soft tissue regeneration.
For this project, we are looking for enthusiastic students with a background in Biomedical or Mechanical Engineering, or in Regenerative Medicine & Technology. You should have affinity with cell and tissue engineering, as well as biomaterial development, processing, and characterization. Next to systematic analysis and scientific skills, experience with additive manufacturing of materials is recommended. You will further develop your scientific and engineering skills and get first-hand experience in a multidisciplinary research environment and in a socially relevant field.
Information and supervision
The project will be performed in collaboration between the department of Mechanical Engineering, Section Polymer Technology, and the department of Biomedical Engineering, section Soft Tissue Biomechanics and Tissue Engineering.