PhD Student Bone Biology Focus Area, Regenerative Orthopaedics Program

The AO is a medically-guided, not-for-profit organisation, a global network of surgeons, and the world's leading education, innovation, and research organisation specialising in the surgical treatment of trauma and musculoskeletal disorders. We have a global network of over 520,000 health care professionals. Each year we offer over 870 educational events around the world, supported by nearly 8,000 faculty members and attended by over 82,600 participants. We have around 20,000 surgeon members working in the fields of trauma, spine, craniomaxillofacial, veterinary, and reconstructive surgery. For more information, visit:

The mission of the AO Research Institute (ARI) is excellence in applied Preclinical Research and Development within trauma and disorders of the musculoskeletal system and translation of this knowledge to achieve more effective patient care worldwide. The ARI contributes high quality applied Preclinical Research and Development (exploratory and translational) focused towards clinical applications/solutions as well as investigates and improves the performance of surgical procedures, devices and substances. It fosters a close relationship with the AO medical community, academic societies, and universities and provides a research environment and support for AO clinicians.

Employment Type:  Temporary
Part-time percentage:  100%
This position is located in: 

Davos Platz, CH

Experience level:  Students / Interns
Please send us your application documents in:  English



As a highly vascularized tissue, bone shows impressive regenerative abilities, aiming to restore its original biological composition, structure, and mechanical function. Successful healing relies on various interconnected processes, in which revascularization and differentiation of recruited cells are crucial. Yet, while bone injuries mostly heal, about 10% of cases experience delayed or non-union due to impaired callus formation or cartilage-to-bone transition failure. Such cases are often associated with impaired vascularization of the initial fracture.

Interactions between vasculature and bone formation are documented, still, cellular and molecular interplays need more exploration. To achieve a better comprehension of these molecular and biochemical factors at the cellular level, precise and well-controlled 3D in vitro models are necessary.

Within this context, we are looking for an outstanding PhD student to join our team for 4 years. 

The successful applicant will be working within a multidisciplinary team developing an in vitro 3D micro-vascular invasion platform for the study of cellular and molecular interplays during cartilage to bone transition in healthy and compromised situations.  

In this role you will be required to


  • Plan and conduct in vitro experiments using self-designed in vitro 3D culture models
  • Establish and utilize cellular and molecular methods for musculoskeletal tissue
  • Optimise 3D co-culturing conditions

In order to master this challenge, you have


  • A Masters in cell or molecular biology, biomedical engineering or related field
  • Previous experience in cell culture and laboratory techniques (e.g. histology, confocal microscopy, molecular biology)
  • Interest in imaging and related image-analysis technologies
  • Experience in planning and executing research experiments
  • Excellent communication skills in English (written and oral)
  • Ability to solve complex tasks in a highly independent manner along with a willing-to-help attitude
  • Present good adaptation and integration skills in a cross-cultural/interdisciplinary environment
  • High motivation and passion for research

We offer

  • An interesting and varied job in an exciting and innovative organization
  • The opportunity to be part of a highly committed international team
  • Modern infrastructure
  • Employment conditions which match the requirements and offer a high degree of flexibility regarding working hours

If you meet the requirements of this challenging opportunity, please submit your complete online application (motivation letter, CV, recent photograph, certificates, reference letters, etc) through our online application system.

Date of publication:  Dec 3, 2023