PhD position on Controlling respiration and cardiac motion for high-resolution MRI in the thorax
Are you the technical and communicative PhD student we are looking for? In this project you will improve MRI scanning for the thorax by controlling respiration and cardiac motion.
Organs in the thorax (e.g. lung, heart) move due to respiration and heart action. The respiratory and cardiac frequency is in the order of 0.3-1.5 Hz, while obtaining MR images generally takes minutes (<0.1 Hz). Congruent to taking a photograph with a long shutter speed, making standard MR images of the thorax would result in blurry images.
In this PhD project (4 years), we will work on methods to obtain sharp MR images in the thorax. We will focus on patient friendly methods to achieve this goal. Therefore, instead of asking the patient to perform a breath hold, we will integrate an audiovisual system to guide the patient to a slow and reproducible breathing pattern. Furthermore, we will work on methods to synchronize imaging with cardiac (heart) motion, in order to minimize blurring around the heart. For this purpose we will use MR-based motion sensors.
In particular, you will further develop the motion corrected MR scans such that these become feasible within a clinically realistic scan time. The developments will consist of optimizing image-based cardiac motion sensing, acceleration of the imaging by controlling the patient’s respiration with a novel audiovisual feedback system, acceleration of the imaging by integration of motion correction and the optimization of the image contrast to visualize the lymph nodes.
The clinical goal of this project is to show that these interventions can improve visualization of the lymph nodes close to heart. We foresee that the techniques developed in this project can aid more precise radiotherapy to the lymph nodes in the thorax by improved visualization.
You will be working at the internationally renowned Center for Image Sciences at the UMC Utrecht, within the Radiotherapy department. In this project, you will collaborate with a team of image scientists, radiology/radiotherapy technologists (laboranten), (medical) physicists, radiologists and radiation oncologists.
You have a master degree in either Electrical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, or Physics. You are also strongly motivated to acquire deep knowledge of MRI and have a strong affinity with the translational of the experimental methods to a clinical context. Furthermore, you have good communication skills and like to explain your work to a broad audience, having a scientific, clinical and/or industrial background. Part of your work will be performed in the clinic, therefore it is highly preferable that you are proficient in Dutch (speaking and writing) or are willing to learn Dutch. During your PhD you will be trained to obtain good clinical practice (GCP) certification, which allows you to perform research with volunteers and patients.
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