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

Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU)

Ph.d. & forskning
Grønland & Færøerne

Frist 12. januar 2020

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 at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Health Tech).

Project description
The project will model the correspondence of biological volumes through 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. PET tracers such as 18F-FAZA can reliably image hypoxic sub-volumes within the tumor as visualized on PET/CT but have found limited clinical implementation. With a contrast enhanced CT, iodine contrast agent is injected intravenously and hence visualize blood vesicles on CT. Spectral or dual energy CT (DE-CT) can isolate the iodine distribution to visualize the perfused blood volume and detect perfusion deficits, e.g. in pulmonary embolism. This project will investigate if the tumor iodine distribution as visualized through material decomposition on DE-CT can act as a reliable quantifiable surrogate for tumor hypoxia. The DE-CT determined hypoxic sub-volumes will be benchmarked against co-acquired 18F-FAZA PET/CT scans. It will further be investigated if 18F-FAZA (PET/CT) and iodine (DE-CT) based dose-painting (dose-escalation) will result in equivalent dose distributions and increase in tumor control.

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. The project will develop a deformable registration model by considering entire image patches in the DE-CT scan that contain dozens of voxels simultaneously (as oppose to single voxels) and further exploit the complimentary information in the two energy bands of DE-CT acquisition. Input features for registration based on non-linear basis functions or small convolutional neural networks will be investigated and compared.

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.
  • 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.

The PhD candidate should have a master's degree within medical physics, computer science, or electrical engineering, or a similar degree with an equivalent academic level. Prior exposure to medical physics and/or medical imaging modalities is an advantage.

Approval and enrollment
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the PhD programs at DTU.

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.

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.

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 March 1, 2020 or soon hereafter by agreement.

Please submit your application no later than 12 January 2020 (23:59 CET) via this link: PhD position in Dual Energy CT and PET/CT Hypoxia Image Registration.

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

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.

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 11,500 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.

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Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU) - hurtigt overblik

Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU)
Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU)
DTU er et teknisk eliteuniversitet med international rækkevidde og standard. Vores mission er at udvikle og nyttiggøre naturvidenskab og teknisk videnskab til gavn for samfundet. 11.200 studerende uddanner sig her til fremtiden, og 6.000 medarbejdere har hver dag fokus på uddannelse, forskning, myndighedsrådgivning og innovation, som bidrager til øget vækst og velfærd.

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