Post-Doctoral Position on Development of New Membrane Concepts for Achieving Portable/Wearable Artificial Kidney Devices

The chair of Bioartificial Organs (BAO) at the Department of the Biomaterials science and Technology (BST), Faculty of Science and Technology (TNW) of the University of Twente has an opening for a post-doctoral position for 2 years on the development of new membrane concepts for portable/ wearable artificial kidney devices.

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The project is performed within the strategic alliance “Technology inspired solutions for tomorrow’s health care” between the University of Twente, UMC Utrecht and Utrecht University. The research will be performed at the BAO of the University of Twente in close collaboration with the Department of Nephrology and Hypertension of the University Medical Center in Utrecht.

Research description

The number of patients with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) progressively increases and the need for renal replacements therapies expands. For these patients the best solution by far is kidney transplantation. However, average time on the transplant waiting list for a cadaveric kidney is 4 years and not every patient is eligible for transplantation. Therefore, most ESKD patients undergo dialysis to replace kidney function. Currently, this therapy requires patients to visit the dialysis centre 3-4 times a week, which is a great social and psychological burden for them. Importantly, the current therapy, despite being life saving, has several major drawbacks:

  • removal of uremic solutes is poor
  • it is non-continuous (3-4x/week), causing large fluctuations in water balance and uremic waste, whereas waste products are constantly produced in the human body
  • it is costly and requires time-consuming visits to the hospital
  • it has a high environmental impact, since it produces excess of waste water (120 L per session) and requires large dialysis machine with high energy footprint 

This project aims to develop new membrane concepts for achieving high removal of uremic toxins combined with low water consumption. Specific focus will be on regeneration of dialysis fluid so that it can be re-used, including efficient urea removal and ion regulation. 

Vacature details

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You have a PhD in chemical or (bio)medical engineering, or related area and an affinity with translational research and you thrive in a multidisciplinary research environment. You are an enthusiastic researcher and have proven experience in preparation of high-quality research publications. Experience in the membrane science and technology is an advantage.

You are highly motivated and flexible with strong planning, problem solving skills and efficient and independent at decision making. You have excellent oral and written communication skills, and a proven record of functioning in a team.

You are also expected to contribute to the expansion of the strategic alliance with the preparation of grant and project proposals.


This postdoctoral position is offered for a period of 2 years. Salary and conditions are in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement (CAO) of the Dutch Universities. The gross monthly salary starts at € 3.255,- gross per month, for postdoctoral researchers that just finished their PhD, excluding allowances in accordance with the job profile ‘Researcher level 4’ (scale 10.4), under the University System for Job Classification (UJC).

Additionally, the University of Twente provides excellent facilities for professional and personal development, a holiday allowance (amount to 8%) and an end of year bonus of 8.3%.

Bedrijfsprofiel Universiteit Twente

In the coming years, due to the aging of the population and the low availability of donor organs there will be urgent need for bioengineering solutions to assist, mimic or replace failing patient organs. The BAO chair has the ambition, to take-on the challenge of helping the patients by developing (bio) artificial organs. In this field of research, the challenges (scientific and technological) are big. There is need for new biomaterials, need for better understanding and tailoring of the biomaterial – cell / tissue interaction, better immune protection and mass transfer, as well as, development of new concepts and designs. The complexity increases from artificial to bioartificial organs, and the engineering and regulatory demands increase further if these organs would be extracorporeal or implantable.

The Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Twente offers a range of bachelor and master courses (NanoTechnology, Applied Physics, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Technical Medicine). The research of the faculty is organized in two interdisciplinary research institutes: MESA+, and TechMed. These institutes increase the vitality of research by enabling collaboration between programs and disciplines, by providing shared facilities, and by attracting funding for joint projects. They also provide a conduit to industrial partners.

The University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU) is one of the largest and most innovative healthcare organizations in the Netherlands. One of its major goals is to translate results from laboratory research into new therapies for disease. Scientists pursuing basic research questions closely collaborate with clinicians involved in patient care, allowing the UMCU to remain at the forefront of new developments. A multidisciplinary approach guarantees patients’ benefit from the latest available expertise and innovative technological solutions. The Department of Nephrology and Hypertension is embedded in the Regenerative Medicine Center Utrecht (RMCU) where >250 UMCU researchers are concentrated together with the renowned Hubrecht Institute, researchers from Utrecht University and several strategic private/public partners. The RMCU integrates fundamental and translational research, emerging technologies, and clinical care to perform high-quality research aiming at developing novel treatments.


Closingdate: 15 August 2019

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