Development Engineer (internship)

Your mission

The School of Life Sciences of EPFL École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne invites applications for the position of an intern at the Bioengineering and Organoids Technology platform, headed by Dr Gaspard Pardon, in collaboration with the Swiss Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSEM), the Maerkl Lab at EPFL, and the EPFL Technology Transfer Office. We are looking for a driven engineering scientist to join our inter-disciplinary team and build on our proprietary microfluidic-based system for the automated culture and dynamic stimulation of stem cells, organoids, and tissue explants.

With the aim to address an unmet need in the availability of affordable, simple-to-implement, and straightforward-to-use tools that facilitate complex tissue culture, we recently developed a microfluidic-based system that readily enables the fully automated culture of stem cells and 3D cell culture models under programmable, time-varying media compositions in standard multi-well plates1.

Used in conjunction with high-content live-imaging, downstream molecular-biology analyses, and functional assays, our innovative technology facilitates comprehensive investigations on the impact of complex stimulation profiles (i.e., cytokines, drugs, pharmacological modulators) on cell fate outcomes over extended (multi-day to multi-week) time-scales. Uniquely, through its compatibility with any commercially available tissue culture plate of choice, our system offers maximum flexibility with regards to the culture and dynamic stimulation of current and future in vitro and ex vivo cell models in 2D and 3D.

We are looking for an entrepreneurial-minded intern to join our dynamic team and help us further advance our technology towards increased multiplexing capabilities and commercial applications.

  1. Tischler, J. et al. An automated do-it-yourself system for dynamic stem cell and organoid culture in standard multi-well plates. Cell Rep. Methods 2, 100244 (2022).

Main tasks and responsibilities

  • Increase the multiplexing capability of our automated cell culturing platform from currently 8 individually programmable cell culture chambers to up to 24 culture wells
  • Re-engineer a fluidic exchange lid with integrated tubing for 24 culture wells
  • Fabricate microfluidic devices in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) using two-layer soft lithography
  • Build on custom LabVIEW scripts to program complex liquid exchange cycles in 24 parallel culture wells
  • Prototype and test the use of Braille modules and/or pinch valves as flow control devices
  • Build on/Modify the design of existing microfluidic devices (using CAD software)
  • Work towards developing on-chip liquid mixing capabilities through integrating ‘micro-pumps’ into microfluidic devices
  • Investigate alternative materials to replace polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) for microfluidic device fabrication with the longer-term aim to adopt industrialized methods. Use 3D-printing as an initial method for the rapid prototyping and testing of non-PDMS devices for microfluidic control

Your profile

  • Recent graduate (bachelor’s or master’s level, with the degree obtained no longer than 10 months ago), or currently enrolled in a master’s program in engineering, bio-engineering, bio-process engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, lab automation, robotics, or related discipline
  • Strong knowledge and expertise in microengineering (both in the design and the fabrication of microfluidic or other technical/medical devices), microfluidic engineering, and/or system automation
  • Basic expertise in computer programming, and a keen interest in software-hardware interfaces
  • Strong analytical thinking and excellent organisational skills
  • Experience, or a willingness, to acquire basic skills in microscopy and quantitative image analysis would be appreciated
  • Previous experience, or a basic understanding of mammalian cell culture and sterile tissue culture practises would be appreciated
  • You demonstrate an ability to learn and perform diverse tasks independently, and are able to seek help when needed
  • You are able to communicate your ideas and to duly report on your technical & scientific results
  • You are trustworthy, committed and diligent
  • You demonstrate a good team spirit and you enjoy working in an interdisciplinary environment
  • You bring a passion for technology development, automation, high-throughput biology, and entrepreneurship, and an interest in complex 3D cell culture systems and the advancement of precision medicine
  • English required; basic knowledge of French appreciated

We offer

  • An exciting opportunity to be part of a dynamic research team at the forefront of bioengineering and organoid technologies, and to gain work experience and key expertise in this area
  • The unique chance to play a central role in enhancing the technology readiness level of a recently developed (published in Cell Reports Methods, July 18, 2022 1; provisional patent filed) automated cell culturing system that has been selected by the EPFL Technology Transfer Office (TTO) as a promising technology with potential towards commercialisation
  • The opportunity to collaborate with key stakeholders in the project, such as the team of the EPFL Bioengineering and Organoid Technology platform, the Swiss Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSEM), a leading microfluidics lab at EPFL, and the EPFL TTO
  • Access to and training in state-of-the-art cleanroom, imaging, and organoid culture facilities
  • Renumeration by a gross flat salary of 2,500. – CHF/month
  1. Tischler, J. et al. An automated do-it-yourself system for dynamic stem cell and organoid culture in standard multi-well plates. Cell Rep. Methods 2, 100244 (2022).


In case of interest, please send your application to Julia Tischler: [email protected]