Musculoskeletal Tissue Regeneration

ESR project


Title of project

Translational Aspects in Vascularized Maxillofacial Bone Regeneration

We offered

A 4-year PhD student position in the interdisciplinary area of maxillofacial regenerative medicine, focusing on biomaterials, biofabrication and translational aspects. This position is a joint position hosted by the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the UMC Utrecht in collaboration with one European academic and one commercial partner.


The department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery & Special Dental Care (UMC Utrecht) encompasses a young, international, and translational research group that is working on maxillofacial regenerative medicine with a focus on biomaterials, stem cells and engineering towards implementation in the clinical practice. The research of the group is conducted at the Regenerative Medicine Center Utrecht where all required facilities such as the Utrecht Biofabrication Facility are clustered.


Maxillofacial bone defects (e.g. mandibular defects) are challenging for surgeons to restore. Their complex shapes, combined with their role in facial esthetics require custom restoration of defects. Biofabrication offers a convenient tool to recapitulate tissue architecture. To be able to engineer tissues of the required size, vasculature needs to be embedded into the bone tissue. For this, material properties are required, allowing for cellular differentiation into various lineages and 3D processing into tailored geometries.

Our current work is focused at designing novel materials for bone regeneration suitable for clinical application. Furthermore, we are investigating the applicability of stem cells from several sources for maxillofacial bone regenerative applications. Our engineered tissues are evaluated in our translational preclinical models.

Starting from our current expertise, you will perform preclinical in vitro and in vivo studies, engineering and evaluating vascularized bone constructs for maxillofacial applications. As a PhD student, you will work at the Utrecht Regenerative Medicine Center in our multidisciplinary team, focusing on integrating knowledge of biomaterials, 3D processing, and regenerative medicine. You are responsible for integration of various 3D processing methods, complex tissue culture and in vivo evaluations.   

Contact person & more information

Dr. Debby Gawlitta, UMC Utrecht


This project is part of RESCUE, a multidisciplinary, intersectoral and interdisciplinary PhD training programme in Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells organised by UMC Utrecht (coordinator) and Utrecht University. RESCUE is partly funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020's Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND scheme. There are specific requirements with regards to English language and mobility for candidates who would like to take part in this programme. More information