The Islet Research Group at MERLN Institute is situated within the Department of Complex Tissue Regeneration ( It currently consists of 3 PhD candidates and 4 Postdocs, visting scientists, as well as Masters students and undergraduates. We are part of RegMed XB and the DCTI ( in the Netherlands and have a number of international and national collaborations.

We are always interested in hearing from talented PhD applicants who ideally have a relevant scientific background, but most importantly, can demonstrate their motivation to work on one of the research areas below. We also welcome enquiries from postdoctoral researchers with their own funding.

The group's research in bioengineering for type 1 diabetes focuses on the development of immunoprotective and open beta cell replacement devices involving 4 main area's:

1) Tissue engineering a bioartificial pancreas for extrahepatic islet transplantation

Polymer scaffolds produced by custom microfabrication techniques to improve islet transplantation

2) Biomaterials development for pancreatic tissue engineering

Microwell fabrication, microfluidics, and characterisation of cell interactions with materials

3) Understanding pancreatic islet cell-extracellular matrix interactions

We study the ECM niche of islets to mimick the pancreatic environment in beta cell delivery devices

4) Immunoprotection of donor islets using membranes

Protection of islets after transplantation with closed membrane based constructs to avoid T-cell interaction.

Click here for literature search on type 1 diabetes papers: Google scholar

Public and private collaborators and links to their webpages:

Prof. Eelco de Koning, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, NL

Dr. Gert-Willem Römer, Chair of Applied Laser Technology, University of Twente, Enschede, NL   

Dr Cherie Stabler, University of Florida, Gainsville FL, USA

Dr Paul de Vos, Immuno-endocrinology, University Medical Center, Groningen, NL

Dr Pascal Jonkheijm, University of Twente, Enschede NL

Dr Dimitrios Stamatialis, University of Twente, Enschede NL

Prof. Martin Gotthardt, IGMD Radboud UMCN, Nijmegen NL

Polyganics BV, NL

Galapagos BV, NL 

XPand BV, NL