PhD Project in Prediction of Tumor Grade and Tumor Recurrence from Multimodal Imaging Data

DTU Compute
torsdag 05 jul 18

The section for Image Analysis and Computer Graphics at DTU’s Department for Applied Mathematics and Computer Science (“DTU Compute”) would like to invite applications for a 3-year PhD position starting around October 2018. The project is part of an ambitious EU-funded project TRABIT (https://trabit.eu) that aims to develop new computational methods to analyze the "wild'' type of neuroimaging data arising in the standard clinical treatment of brain disorders.

DTU Compute is an internationally unique academic environment spanning the science disciplines mathematics, statistics and computer science. At the same time we are an engineering department covering informatics and communication technologies (ICT) in their broadest sense. Finally, we play a major role in addressing the societal challenges of the digital society where ICT is a part of every industry, service, and human endeavour.

DTU Compute strives to achieve research excellence in its basic science disciplines, to achieve technological leadership in research and innovation, and to address societal challenges in collaboration with partners at DTU and other academic institutions, nationally and internationally, and, equally important, with industry and organizations. We communicate and collaborate with leading centres and strategic partners in order to increase participation in major consortia.

DTU Compute plays a central role in education at all levels of the engineering programmes at DTU - both in terms of our scientific disciplines and our didactic innovation.      

Project Description
Glioma is the most frequent primary brain tumor and a disease with poor prognosis. The standard treatment combines surgery, radio- and chemotherapy, delaying tumor progression by a limited time, but leading to significant neurological deficits for the patients.

Diagnosis and decisions about treatment rely in most cases on information obtained from multiparametric magnetic resonance (MR) imaging protocols that map tumor structures, such as the actively growing tumor, or the edema surrounding the inner core of the lesion. Often this is complemented by other scans, for example positron emission tomography (PET) scans, that map additional physiological properties of the surrounding of the lesion, such as blood flow, tissue microstructure, or metabolic maps. After treatment, these multiparametric imaging protocols are continued to monitor the response to therapy and to detect signs of progression.

So far, image information is only used to guide treatment in a rather rudimentary fashion, for instance by evaluating tumor progression by estimating merely the diameter of the visible lesion. The overall goal of this PhD project is to develop accurate and interpretable prediction models for brain tumor grading and tumor recurrence detection from joint PET/MRI scans, taking advantage of the increase in sensitivity and specificity of dynamic FET PET data compared to conventional MRI. The project will involve designing and implementing novel probabilistic models, as well as validating the developed tools on several retrospective studies of subjects that underwent radiochemotherapy.

The selected candidate will be able to take advantage of the unique set-up of the TRABIT network, in particular through secondments (external research stays) at Mediri and the Technical University of Munich (both in Germany), as well as network-wide training events. The research will be performed in close collaboration with the Rigshospitalet (Copenhagen University Hospital).

Requirements
Candidates must have a master degree in applied mathematics, physics, computer science, electrical engineering, or a similar degree with an equivalent academic level. A genuine interest in probabilistic modeling, machine learning and/or signal processing is a must, as is the ability (or the willingness to learn) to program in C++, Matlab or Python. Prior exposure to medical imaging is not required. Ability to travel for secondments in the TRABIT network is essential, as is a good command of the English language.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in the DTU Compute PhD School Programme. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.   

Assessment
The assessment of the applicants will be made by Prof. Koen Van Leemput. 

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Furthermore, the TRABIT network offers a number of unique possibilities, including:  

  • An exciting interdisciplinary research environment of eight top-level universities and research institutes, six hospitals, and five industrial partners.
  • International secondments to other partners in the TRABIT network; dedicated network-wide training events and conferences; anticipated participation in other international conferences and workshops.
  • Co-supervision of your research by experts from industry, academia and hospitals, as well as access to state-of-the-art computational facilities and large collections of clinical neuroimaging data to support your research.
  • Special emphasis on career development through transferable skills training including entrepreneurship, innovation, IPR, industry work, scientific writing, etc.
  • An employment contract or other direct contract with equivalent benefits, including social security coverage, with a competitive salary; an additional mobility allowance of 600 EUR/month; and a family allowance of 500 EUR/month if you have a family at the time of recruitment

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.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further Information
Further information concerning the project can be obtained from prof. Koen Van Leemput, kvle@dtu.dk.  

Further information concerning the application is available at the DTU Compute PhD homepage or by contacting PhD coordinator Lene Matthisson +45 4525 3377.

Application
Applications must be submitted by following the instructions detailed at the TRABIT website: https://trabit.eu/index.php/vacancies. The application deadline is 31 July 2018.   

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

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

DTU Compute has a total staff of 400 including 100 faculty members and 130 Ph.D. students. We offer introductory courses in mathematics, statistics, and computer science to all engineering programmes at DTU and specialised courses to the mathematics, computer science, and other programmes. We offer continuing education courses and scientific advice within our research disciplines, and provide a portfolio of innovation activities for students and employees.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.