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Research profile

Nicholas Kurniawan is an Assistant Professor in the Soft Tissue Engineering and Mechanobiology group. His research focuses on understanding why and how cells behave the way they do in different physical environments. To answer this question, he creates biomimetic cellular environments at multiple scales—from 2D micropatterns to 3D extracellular matrices and bioreactors—where every physical and mechanical cues to the cells can be precisely controlled. These in vitro platforms enable him to systematically break down the origins of basic cellular behavior, such as orientation, migration, and differentiation. The overarching goal is to use the obtained insights to direct cell response in vivo, for example to promote tissue regeneration or to slow down disease progression. Nicholas’s research is highly interdisciplinary, encompassing biophysics, cell biology, protein polymers, biomechanics, and soft matter.

Academic background

Nicholas Kurniawan received his PhD in 2012 from the National University of Singapore (Singapore), studying the role of matrix viscoelasticity in cancer metastasis. He then carried out postdoctoral research as a Marie Curie Fellow at AMOLF (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), investigating the hierarchical structure-property relation in the cytoskeleton and extracellular matrices. In 2015, he joined Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, as an Assistant Professor in the research group Soft Tissue Engineering and Mechanobiology (department of Biomedical Engineering). He is also a member of the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS).

Quote

The cell is a physical entity that interacts with its surrounding objects. By smartly designing the cellular environment, we essentially can have a remote control for steering cell behavior.

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