Eindhoven University of Technology

Eindhoven University of Technology

PhD on new microfluidic designs for continuous sweat analysis within textiles

Netherlands

Closing in 21 days

PhD on new microfluidic designs for continuous sweat analysis within

textiles

Position

PhD-student

Irène Curie Fellowship

No

Department(s)

Mechanical Engineering

FTE

1,0

Date off

05/05/2024

Reference number

V35.7365

Job description

Sweat analysis has emerged as a promising avenue for non-invasive monitoring of athlete performance and tracking various health parameters. However, collecting sweat from the skin for analysis within wearable sensing devices presents a significant challenge. This process is crucial before conducting sweat analysis and is often more complex than the actual sweat detection.

This PhD project aims to develop a new microfluidic approach that enables precise, reproducible, continuous, and autonomous sweat collection for quantitative biomarker detection. We will focus on key biomarkers like glycogen, lactate, electrolytes, and oxygenation levels, which serve as indicators for various factors such as stress, endurance, sprint performance, and aerobic/anaerobic threshold evaluation. In this project, you will develop ideas and concepts for sweat sampling from the skin, devise strategies to integrate the most promising concepts into textiles, such as head- or wristbands, along with the necessary sensing components, and finally build prototypes and perform experiments in the lab to test their performance. After building a functional proof-of-concept device, you will evaluate its performance in real-world scenarios.

Job Description

Several parameters indicating body fatigue in athletes, such as glucose and lactate levels, and aerobic/anaerobic thresholds, are typically assessed through invasive blood collection methods. However, existing solutions on the market often necessitate periodic blood sampling, which can be inconvenient and uncomfortable for individuals. In contrast, sweat offers a non-invasive and easily accessible alternative for monitoring metabolic states and serves as a valuable source of biomarkers for tracking athlete performance, but also for remote health monitoring. Despite its potential, sampling sweat poses challenges due to low sweat rates, variability in production depending on body location, and variations in composition. This PhD project aims to develop an innovative microfluidic approach that facilitates precise, reproducible, continuous, and autonomous sweat collection for quantitative biomarker detection.

This PhD position is part of the European consortium EU-TRAINS, which aims to pioneer advanced sensor and biochemical sensor technologies, leveraging cutting-edge methodologies (AI-driven sensor fusion, cloud-edge continuum) to revolutionize remote healthcare and multi-sport training services. The project brings together a total of 19 partners from academia and industry from Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Poland, Ukraine, Spain, Finland, and the Netherlands. A significant part of this project involves prototyping and testing non-intrusive wearable sensing textiles, such as headbands or wristbands, equipped with multiple sensors capable of measuring various biomarkers in sweat, including glycogen, lactate, electrolytes, and oxygenation levels. The task of TU/e within the EU-TRAINS consortium is to develop advanced microfluidic networks integrated into these wearable textiles for precise, reproducible, continuous, and autonomous sweat collection, as well as to devise strategies for integrating electrochemical sensors into the sweat collection device. These electrochemical sensors will be developed by our partner IMEC-NL.

As a PhD working on this project, your primary objective will be to design, implement, and test various concepts of sweat sampling strategies. Several challenges must be addressed like efficient sweat collection, rapid response, continuous flow, and accurate sweat rate analysis. Your work will also include some theoretical/numerical work, which you can use to predict the performance of different concepts and to help guide the design process for arriving at an optimized prototype. After selecting the most promising sweat sampling principle, you will explore different strategies to integrate the electrochemical sensors into the microfluidic network and wearable textiles. The integration of sensors and subsequent calibration must be conducted to ensure the reliability and accuracy of the device. After building a proof-of- concept device, you will validate its performance by performing in vitro microfluidic experiments in the lab, and later by performing experiments with individuals in diverse real-world scenarios (in particular outdoor sports), spanning both sports and healthcare applications. This task is collaborative, involving multiple EU-TRAINS partners, each bringing specialized knowledge and expertise to ensure comprehensive testing and evaluation.

Embedding

The PhD student will be embedded in the Microsystems research section at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, headed by prof.dr.ir. Jaap den Toonder, and will be supervised by dr. Inês Figueiredo Pereira and prof.dr.ir. Jaap den Toonder. The Microsystems group manages the Microfab/lab, a state-of-the-art micro fabrication facility that houses a range of micro manufacturing technologies – microfluidics technology is one of the main research pillars of the group. The project is a collaboration within the EU-TRAINS consortium, including research groups and companies from Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Poland, Ukraine, Spain, Finland, and the Netherlands.

Job requirements

We are looking for enthusiastic PhD candidates with a background in mechanical, electrical or biomedical engineering, or physics. The ideal candidate would have experience in microfluidics, microfabrication, bioMEMS, and (bio)sensor technology, but excellent candidates with a background in one area (and an interest to master the other) will also be considered. We are looking for a motivated candidate who enjoys working in a multidisciplinary academic environment and has interest in applied research. Our dream candidate is skilled at practical work in the lab and is also able to use and develop theoretical skills needed to develop a fundamental understanding of the subject matter. Other important personal skills include fluent spoken and written English, a proven ability to manage a project, to be able to collaborate with a large and multidisciplinary team, and to be self- driven.

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • An exciting job in a dynamic work environment and a multidisciplinary consortium.
  • A full time appointment for four years by Eindhoven University of Technology (www. tue.nl/en)
  • A gross monthly salary in line with the Collective Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • The possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self- aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.
  • Information and application

    About TU/e

    Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands- on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow.

    Information

    Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? To learn more about the project, please contact dr. Inês Figueiredo Pereira, assistant prof., [email protected].

    Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. For questions about the application process, you can also contact Hind Boulgalag, HR Advisor, [email protected], or +31 40 247 5902.

    Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page.

    Application

    We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button. The application should include:

  • A cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • A Curriculum vitae , including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • We look forward to receiving your application and will screen it as soon as possible. The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled.

    Job details

    Title

    PhD on new microfluidic designs for continuous sweat analysis within textiles

    Employer

    Eindhoven University of Technology

    Location

    Netherlands

    Published

    March 26, 2024

    Application deadline

    May 05, 2024

    Job type

    PhD

    Field

    Engineering,Physics,Space Science