PhD position in Dual Energy CT and PET/CT Hypoxia Image Registration

Monday 09 Nov 20

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We are seeking a PhD student for 3 years to work on a project in dual energy CT and PET/CT image registration for visualization of hypoxia. The project is hosted jointly by the division of radiotherapy at Herlev & Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark, as well as the Department of Health Technology (DTU Health Tech) at the Technical University of Denmark.

Project description

The project will model the correspondence of biological volumes through deformable image registration of dual energy CT and PET/CT images. Tumors with a low oxygen level (hypoxia) are known to be associated with reduced therapeutic effect of radiotherapy and a decrease in overall survival. This project will investigate if the distribution of an injected contrast agent (iodine) as visualized by dual energy (DE-CT) can act as a reliable quantifiable surrogate for tumor hypoxia as assessed with PET (using tracers such as 18F-FAZA). Specifically, the project will assess the longitudinal development of hypoxic volumes by deformable image registration of the DE-CT to the PET/CT and DE-CT to cone-beam CT (CBCT) scans acquired at each treatment fraction. An important component of the project is to develop, implement and test dedicated models for deformable image registration in this specific setting. Further, methods for isolating and comparing corresponding hypoxia volumes on DE-CT and PET/CT are essential.

The radiotherapy clinic at Herlev & Gentofte Hospital and DTU Health Tech have a long-standing research collaboration in the field of medical image analysis for radiotherapy. The project will therefore be able to build on the experiences already obtained within this field.

Responsibilities and tasks
Responsibilities and tasks include (but not limited to):

  • Developing a deformable registration model of the DE-CT and PET/CT images to the daily CBCTs.
  • Developing methods for isolating corresponding hypoxia volumes on DE-CT and PET/CT
  • Carry out a (longitudinally) dose escalation study in close cooperation with a clinical physicist.
  • Model the possible gain in tumor control probability based on dose escalation.
  • Collect existing patient 18FDG-PET/CT and CBCT data (for model development).
  • Collect acquired 18F-FAZA-PET/CT, DE-CT and CBCT data.
  • Setting up and managing possible additional imaging protocols in close cooperation with the scanning staff.
  • Writing biannual reports to the project sponsors.

This PhD project lies at the interface between medical physics and image computing, and can be tweaked to match the interests of the selected candidate. We are looking for a person with a master's degree within medical physics, computer science, biomedical or electrical engineering, applied mathematics or a similar degree with an equivalent academic level. Candidates should be highly motivated and interested in interdisciplinary research. Prior exposure to medical physics and/or medical imaging modalities is an advantage.

Approval and enrollment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide

We offer
An active research environment in both radiotherapy (Herlev & Gentofte Hospital) and medical image computing (DTU Health Tech). We currently have several PhD students, master students and postdocs working in these areas. 

The Medical Image Computing group at the Technical University of Denmark is well-known internationally for developing new methods for medical image analysis, in particular for segmentation, registration, prediction and reconstruction purposes. Much of our work focuses on Bayesian modeling. The group contributes actively to the open-source package for neuroimage analysis FreeSurfer.

Herlev & Gentofte Hospital treat 3.500 cancer patients with radiotherapy annually. The hospital has obligations to carry out research, development and education. Further, a new GE Discovery Molecular Imaging 5 ring digital PET/CT and a GE Revolution dual energy CT scanner dedicated for radiotherapy clinical research has recently been installed. The radiotherapy clinic is an integrated part of the department of oncology. The section of radiophysics is mainly involved in the preparation, quality assurance and development of the radiotherapy treatment. The clinic currently has ten linear accelerators (incl. a combined MR/accelerator), kV X-ray equipment, two CT scanners, one MR scanner, dose planning software, and dosimetric equipment.

Further information
For further information, please contact the project supervisors at Herlev & Gentofte Hospital, Jens Edmund (Medical physicist, PhD, DABR): or DTU Health Tech, Koen Van Leemput (Prof., PhD):  

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years. We expect the position to begin as soon as possible. 

You can read more about career paths at DTU here

Please submit your application no later than 7 December 2020 (local time). Applications must be submitted as pdf files containing all materials to be given consideration. The files must include: 

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • References
  • If applicable: List of publications

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Health Tech engages in research, education, and innovation base on technical and natural science for the healthcare sector. The Healthcare sector is a globally expanding market with demands for the most advanced technological solutions. DTU Health Tech creates the foundation for companies to develop new and innovative services and products which benefit people and create value for society. DTU Health Techs expertise spans from imaging and biosensor techniques, across digital health and biological modelling, to biopharma technologies. The department has a scientific staff of about 175 persons, 130 PhD students and a technical/administrative support staff of about 80 persons.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,000 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.