MSc thesis project proposal

RF spectroscopy sensing array for tissue barrier monitoring

Naturally, some cell types in the body form barriers. The integrity of a tissue barrier can be quantified in several ways, in particular by measuring  its trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TEER), and can be assessed using, for example, Electric Cell-substrate Impedance Sensing (ECIS). The measured indicators are used for drug screening assays and monitoring drug transport. A TEER measurement is typically conducted with chopstick electrodes or integrated surface electrodes. As such, it is easily misinterpreted and limited to measuring cell monolayers.

In this project, your aim is to develop an RF TEER sensing array, able to offer an improved insight into tissue barrier integrity, including multi-layered structures. You will start off with a pre-existing experimental setup for hands-on learning and optimising the RF dielectric approaches over stratified layers. Your goal will be to develop an RF ECIS matrix capable of broadband impedance spectroscopy by employing substrate integrated technology. You will validate the approach and compare it to the conventional state-of-the-art ECIS.

This project is a joint project between ELCA and ECTM.

Daily advisor: Tim Hosman


This project will include the following activities:

  1. A review of state-of-the-art TEER extraction methods and microwave sensing of cells;
  2. Experimenting with an existing RF spectroscopy setup and doing multi-layer spectrum analysis;
  3. PCB design and manufacturing of an RF TEER sensing array;
  4. Sensor characterisation and testing on cell cultures (in collaboration);
  5. Reporting.

The graduation project will have a total duration of 9 to 12 months.


You are an ambitious hands-on Master student with a background in (micro)electronic, RF or bioelectrical engineering. You have an affinity for working in a multi-disciplinary context, including biology, RF engineering and (micro)fabrication. You have good communication skills in English, you are independent and proactive, and also a team player.



dr. Massimo Mastrangeli

Electronic Components, Technology and Materials Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2023-05-16