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Personal profile

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).


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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Research Output

  • 456 Citations
  • 36 Article
  • 4 Meeting Abstract
  • 3 Poster
  • 3 Review article

Cellular Contact Guidance Emerges from Gap Avoidance

Buskermolen, A. B. C. G., Ristori, T., Mostert, D., van Turnhout, M. C., Shishvan, S. S., Loerakker, S., Kurniawan, N. A., Deshpande, V. S. & Bouten, C. V. C., 20 May 2020, In : Cell Reports. Physical Science. 1, 5, 100055.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
  • Cellular geometry sensing at different length scales and its implications for scaffold design

    Werner, M., Kurniawan, N. A. & Bouten, C. V. C., 1 Feb 2020, In : Materials. 13, 4, 18 p., 963.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    23 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    25 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • Layer-specific cell differentiation in bi-layered vascular grafts under flow perfusion

    Pennings, I., van Haaften, E. E., Juengst, T., Bulsink, J. A., Rosenberg, A. J. W. P., Groll, J., Bouten, C. V. C., Kurniawan, N. A., Smits, A. I. P. M. & Gawlitta, D., 1 Jan 2020, In : Biofabrication. 12, 1, 13 p., 015009.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    5 Downloads (Pure)


    Control cell communication and tissue regeneration

    Nicholas Kurniawan (Recipient), 2019

    Prize: ERCStartingScientific

  • Courses

    Heart and blood

    1/09/15 → …





    Student theses

    A brain chip to investigate neurite outgrowth by trapping cell-laden hydrogel beads in microsieves

    Author: Labeur, T., 29 Aug 2019

    Supervisor: Bouten, C. (Supervisor 1), Luttge, R. (Supervisor 2), Kurniawan, N. (Supervisor 2) & Bastiaens, A. (Supervisor 2)

    Student thesis: Master

    Cell directed nanoparticle drug delivery for tissue engineering

    Author: Vogel, M., 30 Sep 2015

    Supervisor: Bouten, C. (Supervisor 1), Sahlgren, C. (Supervisor 2), Ottmann, C. (Supervisor 2) & Kurniawan, N. (External coach)

    Student thesis: Master

    Design of a DNA-based tension probe for the quantification of cellular traction forces at a molecular level

    Author: van der Putten, C., 25 Jan 2018

    Supervisor: Kurniawan, N. (Supervisor 1), de Greef, T. (Supervisor 2) & Bouten, C. (Supervisor 2)

    Student thesis: Master

    Endothelium outgrowth under flow: a study of the outgrowth of endothelial monolayers under high shear rates

    Author: Vlemmings, D., 28 Feb 2019

    Supervisor: Kurniawan, N. (Supervisor 1) & van Haaften, E. (Supervisor 2)

    Student thesis: Master

    Evaluation of the potential of cell-laden chondroitin sulfate methacrylate hydrogels for cartilage regeneration

    Author: Nijhuis, M., 25 Oct 2018

    Supervisor: Ito, K. (Supervisor 1), van Donkelaar, C. (Supervisor 2), van Hooijdonk - Mouser, V. (Supervisor 2), Vermonden, T. (External person) (External coach) & Kurniawan, N. (Supervisor 2)

    Student thesis: Master