BioDate 2021: 7 interdisciplinary MSc projects supported with 2,5k

In May 2021, Delft Bioengineering Institute organized an extra online edition of BioDate: the ‘speed date’ event where BEI PIs can meet and explore possibilities for collaboration. Today, we proudly present the results of this effort: the participating PIs have generated seven new interdisciplinary MSc projects! Once the PIs have recruited the right student for their project, BEI transfers the grant money of €2500.

BioDate 2021 MSc project

Supervisor #1

Supervisor #2

Bioreactor simulation using Physics-Informed Neural Networks

Artur Schweidtmann (TNW/ChemE)

Cees Haringa (TNW/BT)

Always-on wireless ear-EEG to monitor brain activity

Dante Muratore (EWI/ME)

Alina Rwei (TNW/ChemE)

Bio-inspired design: an interactive hinge

Jovana Jovanova (3mE)

Sepideh Ghodrat (IO)

A closed-loop neuro-therapeutic system to treat stroke-induced damage

Alina Rwei (TNW/ChemE)

Urs Staufer (3mE/PME)

Speeding up a promising visualization technique for cell biology

Kristin Grußmayer (TNW/BN)

Hylkje Geertsema (TNW/ImPhys)

Towards a novel approach for radioenzymatic reactions

Kristina Djanashvili (TNW/BT)

Antonia Denkova (TNW/RST)

New and renewable routes for bulk chemicals

Ruud Kortlever (3mE/P&E)

Frank Hollmann (TNW/BT)

>> Bioreactor simulation using Physics-Informed Neural Networks

Industrial bioprocesses play a central role in materials production in a carbon-neutral economy, but reliable scale-up and maximization of resource efficiency are challenging. Fast and accurate simulations of bioreactors are critical to improving process efficiencies and product quality. Physics-informed neural networks enforce physical laws that are described by general nonlinear partial differential equations during training. This approach drastically reduces the data demand and prevents overfitting. Under supervision of BEI PIs Artur Schweidtmann (TNW/ChemE) and Cees Haringa (TNW/BT), and with support from BEI PI Jochen Cremer (EWI), Chemical Engineering Master student Karthik Karthik Viswanathan will explore the potential of physics-informed neural networks in bioengineering.

Project: Physics-Informed Neural Networks for Biochemical Engineering
Supervisors: Artur Schweidtmann (TNW/ChemE) and Cees Haringa (TNW/BT)
Student: Karthik Karthik Viswanathan (Master student Chemical Engineering)

>> Always-on wireless ear-EEG to monitor brain activity

Electroencephalography (EEG) is used to record brain activity from the surface of the scalp. EEG signals are used in many clinical applications, such as the monitoring of epileptic seizures or the study of sleep. For many of these applications, continuous monitoring of EEG signals yields better results when done outside a lab, but current scalp-EEG systems are hardly mobile and not very discreet. An alternative approach better suited for outside the lab is to record EEG signals using electrodes placed inside or around the ear, but there are many challenges still before ear-EEG becomes a feasible solution. In this project, MSc student Electrical Engineering Cyril Weustink, who is familiar with circuit design, microcontrollers and fundamental signal processing, will explore possibilities for an always-on wireless ear-EEG. BEI PIs Dante Muratore (EWI/Microelectronics) and Alina Rwei (TNW/ChemE) will supervise the student in this endeavour.

Project: Always-On Wireless Ear-EEG with Flexible Electrodes and Near-Sensor Signal Processing
Supervisors: Dante Muratore (EWI/ME) and Alina Rwei (TNW/ChemE)
Student: Cyril Weustink (MSc Electrical Engineering/Microelectronics)

>> Bio-inspired design: an interactive hinge

Designers are already exploring smart materials in designing shape morphing objects and often they let themselves be inspired by nature in their design. Shape memory materials (SMMs), part of the family of smart materials, are the ‘living’ core of shape morphing objects that have the capacity to assume different shapes, most commonly by remembering a certain set shape to which they are trained to return upon activation. By utilizing the stimuli responsive features of these materials, bio-mimicry behavior may ensue in shape morphing objects. Shape morphing objects have the potential to be used in many domains, e.g. healthcare, biomechanics and (soft) robotics. Under supervision of BEI PIs Jovana Jovanova (3mE) and Sepideh Ghodrat (IO), a student with a background in mechanical engineering, materials science engineering or industrial design engineering will embark on an inspirational journey to develop a programmable interactive hinge, using shape memory materials, that can bend, twist or contract.

Project: Interactive hinge – Bio-inspired design of smart programmable morphing structure
Supervisors: Jovana Jovanova (3mE) and Sepideh Ghodrat (IO)
Student: to be recruited

>> A closed-loop neuro-therapeutic system to treat stroke-induced damage

Stroke survivors often remain disabled, and would benefit greatly if drug treatments were available during the acute phase to protect neurons from further damage. Unfortunately, neuroprotective compounds can hardly cross the blood-brain barrier, and current drugs are toxic to the rest of the body, making it hard to effectively target the affected zone in the brain. An on-demand drug delivery system that can be controlled to release the drug only at the brain sites most affected by stroke-induced damage would enhance the therapeutic effectiveness and minimize off-target side effects. Under supervision of BEI PIs Alina Rwei (TNW/ChemE) and Urs Staufer (3mE/PME), a MSc student will investigate the feasibility of integrating light-sensitive liposomes with neuro-implantable optoelectronics and microfluidics for the development of such a closed-loop neuro-therapeutic system.

Project: Light- and Microfluid-guided Release of Drugs LaMigRoD
Supervisors: Alina Rwei (TNW/ChemE) and Urs Staufer (3mE/PME)
Student: to be recruited

>> Speeding up a promising visualization technique for cell biology

DNA point accumulation in nanotopography (DNA-PAINT) is a promising visualization technique to advance our understanding of the nanoscopic organization of cellular molecules in healthy and diseased cells, an area of intensive research in cell biology. However, right now, it is the slowest super-resolution method available. Under supervision of BEI PIs Kristin Grußmayer (TNW/BN) and Hylkje Geertsema (TNW/ImPhys), an Applied Physics or Nanobiology student will explore DNA-PAINT probe design and binding kinetics to improve imaging speed and multiplexing capabilities for high-order super-resolution optical fluctuation imaging (SOFI) analysis.

Project: Optimizing oligonucleotide-based blinking for high throughput super-resolution imaging
Supervisors: Kristin Grußmayer (TNW/BN) and Hylkje Geertsema (TNW/ImPhys)
Student: to be recruited

>> Towards a novel approach for radioenzymatic reactions

Enzymes are known to catalyse an immense number of important chemical reactions. One class of such enzymes, peroxygenases, utilizes hydrogen peroxide H2O2 as oxidizing agent. However, this agent may not be present at high concentrations, because of the risk of enzyme deactivation. BEI PIs Kristina Djanashvili (TNW/BT), Antonia Denkova (TNW/RST) and Frank Hollmann (TNW/BT) have recently demonstrated a new approach using radiolysis of water for in situ production of hydrogen peroxide in enzyme-driven biocatalytic reactions. Under their supervision, a LST, Chemical Engineering or Biomedical Engineering student is offered the opportunity to explore the potential of this approach, in an overall effort to pave the way to a productive utilization of nuclear waste for sustainable processes.

Project: Radiolysis of Water as a Driving Force for Enzyme-Driven Biocatalytic Reactions
Supervisors: Kristina Djanashvili (TNW/BT) and Antonia Denkova (TNW/RST)
Student: to be recruited

>> New and renewable routes for bulk chemicals

Nowadays, the societal demand for more sustainable chemistry encourages the scientific community to envision new and renewable synthetic routes. Electricity can be produced from renewable resources and can be used – notably – to perform chemical reactions. This project aims to combine electrochemistry that can produce hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) from molecular oxygen and biocatalysis that can perform selective oxyfunctionalization from H2O2 using peroxygenases. Under the supervision of Ruud Kortlever (3mE/P&E) for the electrochemical part and Frank Hollmann (TNW/BT) together with Hugo Brasselet (TNW/BT) for the biocatalysis part, the student will develop the reaction at the interface of this two worlds into dedicated reactors.

Project: e-HyPER – Electrochemical H2O2 driven enzymatic reactions
Supervisors: Ruud Kortlever (3mE/P&E), Frank Hollmann (TNW/BT), Hugo Brasselet (TNW/BT)
Student: to be recruited