PhD student position in renal functional MRI

PhD student position in renal functional MRI

Ghent University / University Hospital Ghent

MRI based characterization of renal function in chronic kidney disease patients with cardiorenal syndrome

Short project description

Recent advances in MRI-based perfusion measurements with Arterial Spin Labeling (ASL), and oxygenation measurements using Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) MRI  have shown great potential to assess whole organ and local kidney function. These techniques still need refinements in terms of data acquisition, data processing and interpretation. Additionally, there is an urgent need for validation of renal ASL against a clinical outcome.

In 2020, a multidisciplinary renal imaging group was formed at University Hospital Ghent and Ghent university. This group is composed of scientists and medical doctors from biomedical engineering, radiology, urology, and veterinary medicine. The first experiments with renal MRI on human and canine subjects are underway.

The main goal of this project is to study the effect of the treatment of hypertension on kidney perfusion and kidney oxygenation in patients with cardiorenal syndrome. We will seek to extend the current ASL method with time-resolved and regional perfusion measurements in an attempt to link renal physiology models with perfusion measurements. A multiparametric MRI protocol including ASL, BOLD, T1 mapping, phase-contrast imaging, and Intravoxel Incoherent Motion Imaging Diffusion-Weighted Imaging (IVIM/DWI) will be supplemented with MR Angiography and 3D anatomical imaging to assess the vascular structure and general pathologies in both kidneys.

The PhD student will implement, validate and refine MR acquisition methods; be actively involved in healthy volunteer and patient scanning; develop pipelines for image processing and statistical analysis; relate biophysical models with MRI measures; develop translational methods from animal models to human and vice versa; interact regularly with radiologists, nephrologists and veterinarians.


·       Interest in, or demonstrated knowledge of functional MRI methods (BOLD, DWI, ASL, T1/T2 mapping etc)

·       Knowledge of medical image processing (co-registration, artifact & motion correction, segmentation..)

·       Demonstrated knowledge of Python and/or Matlab

·       Open-minded, willingness to operate in a multi-disciplinary team of engineering, nephrology, physics and radiology experts

·       Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering, Physics, or other Engineering discipline

We offer

·       Unique opportunity to translate basic science into clinical practice

·       Collaboration with international experts in functional MRI biomarkers of the kidney

·       Small but dedicated team of experts


·       Active renal fMRI community and ISMRM Study group on renal MRI

·       Attend future renal fMRI conferences/ISMRM etc.

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