Interview STRATEC CONS

Christoph Trenzinger
  • What are your research interests? What are you working on?
I am interested in the development of microfluidic devices that open new ways for biological research and point-of-care diagnostics. Currently, I am working on a microdevice for controlled confinement of T-cells. My aim is to study and quantify the effect of mechanical stimulation on the activation behavior of T-cells in vitro.
  • What would you like the impact of this project to be?
My results may contribute in the development of novel cell culture systems that use mechanical stimulation for T-cell expansion. Further, my project may also have impact on the development of Immune-Organ-on-a-Chip devices that replace animal testing for disease modelling or drug screenings.
  • Where and how did your scientific journey begin?

I would say that it really began when I was working as a student assistant during my master studies. It was the first time I got hands-on experience in the production of lab-on-a-chip devices. I was fascinated by this technology and its applications and from there on I decided to work on miniaturized systems myself.

  • What do you plan to do after you complete your PhD?

I want to keep developing microfluidic systems in an industrial environment.

  • Was there something specific about the ENACTI2NG that drew you to apply?

The chance of doing a PhD in industry was one reason for me to apply. I wanted to take the chance and develop my employability in an industrial environment while also doing research as a PhD. A second reason was of course the Marie Curie fellowship that offers opportunities to develop additional skills in several workshops and offers great supplies for doing research. The third reason was the overall subject addressed by EN-ACTI2NG, that allowed me to gain a better understanding in immunology and to collaborate with researchers working in this field.

  • Someone is curious about working on the same field / working with your group, what would you tell him/her?

Working in the field of microfluidics, means to work very interdisciplinary. A microfluidic device is only as good as its applicability. Next to the science behind microdevice production you do also need to have knowledge in i.e. biology and microscopy to be able to communicate with potential end-users.

  • What do you like most about your time at your institution/group/consortium?

The possibility of networking with people from various fields of research, may it be in the consortium or the company.

  • What can you expect from a PhD in industry?

I think it really depends on how well your’ and the company’s expectations match. So, I strongly recommend checking that before starting a position like that. For sure your PhD in industry will be different in terms of supervision and publications may not be the main goal during your time in the project. However, you will have the chance to develop skills that help you to find your place in an industrial environment and may kick-start your career in industry. Eventually you will also have a PhD degree and you can decide where to go next.