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PhD position in Cell-Physiology and Cellular Engineering

This position is part of an Innosuisse project to generate an in vitro model as close as possible to the human blood-brain barrier to develop, in collaboration with a company, exosome-based vehicles to deliver drugs through the BBB.

School: Life Sciences und Facility Management
Starting date: 01.01.2023 or by arrangement

Your role

The laboratory of Jack Rohrer at the Institute of Chemistry and Biotechnology of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Wädenswil, Switzerland is looking for a PhD student to be part of an Innosuisse project generating an in vitro model of the human blood brain barrier (BBB) as a test system for drug delivery into the central nervous system (CNS). We already established a minimal model consisting of brain microvascular endothelial cells derived from iPSCs which should be further improved by the addition of astrocytes and pericytes to mimic human physiology. This model will be used to develop methods for targeted drug delivery through the BBB using modified exosomes. Exosomes as a body-own delivery system are recognized by the pharmaceutical industry as one of the most promising tools in the future of drug delivery, especially for targeted drug delivery to sites such as the CNS, which was previously out of reach for large therapeutics.

Your tasks include:

  • Plan and execute experiments within the described project
  • Communicate the research results within the group and in meetings with the industrial partner
  • Working in close collaboration with the industrial partner
  • Some supervision of bachelor and master students

Your profile

  • You have a MSc degree in in life sciences, preferentially in cell biology, biotechnology or molecular biology which is acceptable for matriculation at a Swiss University (Bologna compatible)
  • You have experience in mammalian cell culture technology, additional experience with iPSCs would be advantageous
  • Excellent command of the English language (oral and written), additional German knowledge is a plus
  • You are proactive and have good communication and reporting skills

This is what we stand for

Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW is one of Switzerland's largest multidisciplinary universities of applied sciences, with over 14'000 students and 3'400 faculty and staff.

In our institute there is a huge variety of topics and a great mix of applied research and teaching. We also encourage great freedom in the organization of work and many opportunities to contribute ideas, creativity and decision-making. 
In general, the research group of Prof. Dr. Jack Rohrer works on the development and industrial application of new in vitro test systems, which represent the human physiology as close as possible. For this purpose, iPSCs, primary cells and, if appropriate, cell lines in 2D and 3D structures are used. 

The PhD title for this particular position, can be obtained either from University of Zurich or University of Basel fulfilling the respective requirements. Review of applications will start in December 2022, though applications will be accepted until a suitable candidate is found.

Das dürfen Sie erwarten

Wir bieten hochschulgerechte Arbeits- und Anstellungsbedingungen und fördern aktiv die Personalentwicklung unserer Mitarbeitenden und Führungspersonen. Eine detaillierte Beschreibung der Vorteile finden Sie auf der Seite «Arbeiten an der ZHAW». Hier die wichtigsten Eckpunkte:


Prof. Dr. Jack Rohrer
Leiter Fachgruppe Zellphysiologie und Zell-Engineering


Laura Steinegger-Hornung
Recruiting Manager


ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften
Wädenswil Region of Zurich 8820