PhD positions on Needle-free injections: ultrafast microjets for minimal skin damage

University of Twente
September 18, 2023
Offerd Salary:€ 2.770
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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Are you ready to work on the old dream of injecting without needles and to contribute to a world with less contamination caused by medical treatments and cosmetic procedures?

We offer two exciting PhD positions in the Mesoscale Chemical Systems group.

Join our highly motivated and multidisciplinary team working on revolutionary methods for needle-free injections!

Injecting without needles is challenging because all skins are different. The study of fast traveling tiny droplets impacting on soft substrates will give you and our highly motivated team the knowledge to inject without harming the skin. It will also enable the determination of skin properties for vaccinations, cosmetics, and other uses, where needles are feared.

This project will use state-of-the-art technology developed in the BuBble Gun Project (https: // Together with collaborating experts from medical centers, commercial partners and spin-off companies, this project will contribute to developing a novel technology to provide personalized and effective medical and cosmetic treatments.

As part of the NWO funded VIDI project, we are looking to fill two PhD positions (4 years), and one post-doc position (1.5 years). For an example of recent work done in this line of research, please check:

· Cu, Delivery Strategies for Skin: Comparison of Nanoliter Jets, Needles and Topical Solutions. Annals of Biomedical Engineering 1-12 (2019)

· Quetzeri Santiago, Impact of a microfluidic jet onto a pendant droplet, Soft Matter, 17, 7466 – 7475 (2021)

van der Ven, Microfluidic jet impact: spreading, splashing, soft substrate deformation and injection. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, (636) 549-558 (2023).

Your profile
  • You have a master degree and you are a curious and enthusiastic researcher ready to learn about various aspects ranging from fluid dynamics, material properties and skin anatomy.
  • You have experience in any of the following fields: bioengineering, physics, computational models. We could discuss potential reorientation.
  • You have a creative mindset, excellent analytical and communication skills with a good team spirit for interdisciplinary and internationally oriented environment.
  • You are fluent in English and able to collaborate intensively with industrial and academic parties in regular meetings and work visits.
  • Our offer
  • A full-time position for four years, with a qualifier in the first year, and the flexibility to work (partially) from home.
  • Your salary and associated conditions are in accordance with the collective labour agreement for Dutch universities (CAO-NU).
  • You will receive a gross monthly salary ranging from € 2.770,- (first year) to € 3.539,- (fourth year)
  • There are excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme.
  • A minimum of 232 leave hours in case of full-time employment based on a formal workweek of 38 hours. A full-time employment in practice means 40 hours a week, therefore resulting in 96 extra leave hours on an annual basis.
  • Free access to sports facilities on campus.
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid).
  • You will have a training programme as part of the Twente Graduate School where you and your supervisors will determine
  • Information and application

    The aim is for this PhD project to be mostly experimental driven, collaborating with another PhD leaning towards computational/simulation activities. There will be a postdoc position as a balancing or supporting role.

    The objective is to investigate the fluid-structure interactions of liquid micro-jets impacting the skin. Depending on the applicants' experience this team composition can be adjusted.

  • Experimental plan: To develop reliable methods to study skin dynamic properties. Here the team will ensure reproducible conditions to obtain parameters of skin at spatiotemporal scales not achieved before, by recording the impact of jets against skin with complimentary techniques.

  • - We foresee using: Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) on ex vivo skin and conformal modulus sensor (CMS) indentation methods related to material properties. High-resolution imaging techniques (with dyes, particles, etc.) to study failure properties dependent on strain rates and loading directions. Injected samples will be analyzed with histological processing, confocal microscopy, optical coherence tomography (OCT), photoacoustic imaging, and fast X-ray imaging.

  • Modelling plan: The experimental results will help to untangle the inertia-driven dynamic loading provided by the jets from the observed elastic and dissipative response, i.e., deformation of soft substrates. We will adapt skin models (soft substrates) to our spatiotemporal conditions, and employ numerical simulation techniques to solve the inverse problem, i.e., identifying the dominant skin properties and predicting the jet velocity needed to puncture the skin.
  • We envisage using linear and bi-linear skin constitutive models considering multilayered skin. We will review and use those continuum methods (CM) that can describe nonlinearity, (poro)viscoelasticity, and load history. Properties like the Young's modulus of the skin, and strain energy density functions will be devised for our experimental conditions, We will explore Finite Element Methods and employ a combination of Newtonian fluid equations, non-Newtonian visco-elastic models, e.g., on the Basilisk platform. We aim to model the rupturing of skin elements, as well as the dynamic evolution of the liquid jet free surface and how it splits into multiple (fluid) elements. Particle methods (PM) will be used to simulate the dynamics of discrete cells; their separation during penetration, and self-healing, e.g., detailed methods like Episim and MercuryDPM.

    If you are interested? Then, please apply before September, 18, 2023 through the "Apply now" button on this page, including:

  • A cover letter (maximum 1 page A4), emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications, motivations to apply for this position.
  • A Curriculum Vitae, including a list of all courses attended and grades obtained, and, if applicable, a list of publications and references.
  • An IELTS-test, Internet TOEFL test (TOEFL-iBT), or a Cambridge CAE-C (CPE). Applicants with a non-Dutch qualification and who have not had secondary and tertiary education in English can only be admitted with an IELTS-test showing a total band score of at least 6.5, internet. TOEFL test (TOEFL-iBT) showing a score of at least 90, or a Cambridge CAE-C (CPE).
  • An interview with a scientific presentation will be part of the interview process.

    For more information regarding this position, you are welcome to contact (Prof. David Fernandez Rivas + [email protected])

    About the department

    The PhD-candidates will work together with members of the Mesoscale Chemical Systems, and in collaboration with several academic and industrial partners from the medical sector and spin-off companies. This project will use state- of-the-art technology developed in the BuBble Gun Project (https: // bubble-

    The group is in embedded within an international network and promotes international collaboration and exchanges. In particular, this project will be in collaboration with the ErasmusMC Academic Hospital in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT, and the School of Medicine in Harvard, USA.

    Our group has a highly international character and a unique expertise in micro and nanofabrication. We are backed by the outstanding experimental facilities of MESA+ NanoLab and the Technical Medical Centre, both widely recognized for its cutting-edge developments in advanced microengineering and biomedical technology.

    The research and valorization activities of the group encompass microfluidics, ultrasound technologies, electrochemistry and bioengineering. MCS offers a rich, multidisciplinary and very international (over a 12 nationalities) environment where experimental physics, advanced chemical processes and simulation work are applied to solve relevant societal problems, as well as curiosity driven.

    The Mesoscale Chemical Systems (MCS) is headed by Han Gardeniers and is active in three main activities: (i) structure materials in 3D down to the nanometer scale; (ii) manage fluids at the mesoscale; and (iii) engineer microsystems with integrated functionality. More information can be found on our website https://

    About the organisation

    The Faculty of Science & Technology (Technische Natuurwetenschappen, TNW) engages some 700 staff members and 2000 students in education and research on the cutting edge of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Our fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. As part of a people-first tech university that aims to shape society, individuals and connections, our faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad, and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. Our research has a high profile both in the Netherlands and internationally and is strengthened by the many young researchers working on innovative projects with as doctoral candidates and post-docs. It has been accommodated in three multidisciplinary UT research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centre and Digital Society Institute.

    Want to know more? Fernandez Rivas, D. (David)


    Fernandez Rivas, D. (David)


    Do you have questions about this vacancy? Then you can contact David for all substantive questions about this position and the application procedure. For general questions about working for the UT, please refer to the chatbot.



    Email:[email protected]

    How to apply Step 1

    Apply. When you see a vacancy that appeals to you, you can apply online. We ask you to upload a CV and motivation letter and/or list of publications. You will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail.

    Step 2

    Selection. The selection committee will review your application and you will receive a response within 2 weeks after the vacancy has been closed.

    Step 3

    1st interview. The 1st (online or in person) meeting serves as an introduction where we introduce ourselves to you and you to us. You may be asked to give a short presentation. This will be further explained in the invitation.

    Step 4

    2nd interview. In the second interview, we will further discuss the job content, your skills and your talents.

    Step 5

    The offer. If the conversations are positive, you will be made a suitable offer.

    Your Colleagues
  • Luding, S. (Stefan)
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    Snoeijer, J.H. (Jacco)

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  • Bosschaart, N. (Nienke)
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