The doctoral college “MatureTissue – Driving maturation of artificial tissues, using bioreactor and microfluidic technologies” (DC MatureTissue), is a joint project of the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien (UASTW) and TU Wien (TUW).
Within the DC MatureTissue a new generation of high achieving PhD students will be trained to study and develop novel strategies for producing mature engineered musculoskeletal tissue constructs. Such tissue constructs are grown from a collective of (stem)cells and scaffold materials, using state-of-the art 3D cell culture and bioprinting approaches. If maturation, i.e. constructs revealing similar properties to native human tissue, can be achieved, novel methods for therapies can be established.
This is especially important for musculoskeletal tissues. Here, the number of individuals suffering from acute or chronic conditions is increasing and therapies are often missing or ineffective. In particular, the focus will be on tendon, cartilage, bone and muscle.
Maturation of engineered tissue constructs is envisioned to be achieved through proper mechanical stimulation during culturing period using either existing bioreactor or microfluidic chip technologies. It is hypothesized that the ability to control and design the mechanical properties of the scaffold materials and the mechanical stimulation, biological cell responses, chemical composition and mechanical properties of constructs can be achieved that are similar to native tissue. As each construct will be probed for these properties (i.e. molecular biological activity, chemical composition and mechanics) the effect of scaffold material mechanics and mechanical stimulation will be systematically investigated and optimized.
Quality assurance and mentoring of the PhD students will be guaranteed by a thesis advisory committee. Thus, each PhD student will be supported by designated experts, who lead them to a successful project, PhD completion and further career. Further, joint activities planned are a monthly research seminar for all PhD students and supervisors as well as an annual retreat.
The MatureTissue Doctoral Programme gives the PhD students the opportunity to work on interdisciplinary, cutting-edge projects in the field of tissue engineering. Being part of a team, the students will learn from each other and aim for achieving common goals. The diverse faculty members and their highly active groups have exactly the scientific expertise needed to support the PhD students and to carry out the research described. Due to the interdisciplinary approaches, PhD students will receive training in a variety of areas. These theoretical, scientific, experimental, networking and communication skills are an essential basis for successful future careers in industry or academia.