PhD scholarship in Assessing Hearing Performance of Teenagers with Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants using Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS)’ – DTU Health Tech

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PhD scholarship in Assessing Hearing Performance of Teenagers with Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants using Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS)’ – DTU Health Tech
Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

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Job Description

Are you passionate about making a meaningful impact in the lives of patients with hearing aids and cochlear implants? Do you possess a blend of signal processing skills and clinical interest in teenagers with hearing devices? If so, we have the perfect opportunity for you! 
The Hearing Systems Section at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), together with the Ear, Nose, and Throat and Audiology Department at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, are seeking a motivated and qualified candidate for a 3-year PhD position. This PhD project aims to investigate hearing performance and brain activity during listening tasks, using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), which is a non-invasive neuroimaging method that measures changes in blood oxygen levels in the brain. We will focus on patients who are teenagers, as they are considered the new generation of patients with hearing devices. 
Despite the overall success of cochlear implants and hearing aids, there is a large heterogeneity in hearing outcomes among patients. This variability might depend on the degree and dynamics of cross-modal plasticity in the auditory and visual cortices of the brain. Age and auditory deprivation periods have affected the reported results in literature. By focusing on teenagers in this PhD project, we aim to gain deeper insights into the neuroplasticity during crucial developmental stages. The PhD project can lead to a new clinical tool to assess hearing aid benefit in younger children and other patients with limited cooperation abilities. We will specifically use fNIRS as neuroimaging method because a further challenge with cochlear implants is that the devices are magnetic and electrically driven and consequently incompatible with other traditional neuroimaging techniques. While fNIRS can bypass this problem, the analysis pipelines are not standardized yet. Therefore, analysing fNIRS responses will be a significant portion of the PhD project.
As a PhD student you will be joining a cross-disciplinary research team that is embedded inside the Copenhagen Hearing and Balance Centre (CHBC), whichis a center at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, dedicated to combining daily treatment of hearing and balance with world-class research through collaborations with the medico-technical industry and academic universities such as the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). As part of this project, you will be based at the hospital, where the fNIRS system is located. You will additionally be linked with the Hearing Systems Section at DTU Health Tech, and as such, be part of an internationally leading research group, who focuses on a range of hearing-related topics, including auditory signal processing and perception, computational auditory modelling, audiology, acoustics, and hearing aid and cochlear implant signal processing. CHBC and DTU Hearing Systems house outstanding facilities for hearing research in this direction, including an acoustically and electromagnetically shielded research lab at CHBC, as well as fully equipped psychoacoustic and communication labs at both DTU and CHBC.
Responsibilities and tasks
You will: 

  • design fNIRS experiments designed to assess neural responses to auditory and visual stimuli, and record and analyse the fNIRS responses to objectively assess cross-model plasticity and hearing device benefit.
  • conduct smaller-scale listener studies with individuals with hearing impairment, compare different fNIRS analysis methods, and evaluate to what extent fNIRS can be incorporated into clinical practice as an objective verification of hearing device settings. 
  • collaborate with clinicians to define relevant protocols, coordinate patient recruitment, administer both novel and traditional diagnostic tests, analyse the results, and communicate the outcomes scientifically.

You should: 

  • have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree. 
  • be very well-versed in acoustics, hearing, and/or audiology and have practical experience with designing experiments and conducting research.
  • be well-versed in Python and/or Matlab, or otherwise have a willingness and determination to learn, and have clinical experience, or a willingness and determination to learn about clinical practice.
  • be curious about hearing healthcare, and importantly, be passionate about bridging engineering and audiology through translational research.
  • have experience within fNIRS or other neuroimaging techniques is a plus.
  • enjoy working in a cross-disciplinary research field, be able to work independently, and communicate research in English. An ability to communicate in Danish is advantageous, but not a requirement.

Approval and Enrolment 
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 DTU's rules for the PhD education . 
The assessment of the applicants will be made by Assistant Professor Maaike Van Eeckhoutte, Associate Professor Hamish Innes-Brown and Professor Torsten Dau.
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.
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 .
The workplace is CHBC at Rigshospitalet and DTU’s Lyngby Campus.
If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark . Furthermore, you have the option of joining our monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar ” for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU. 
Further information 
Further information may be obtained from Maaike Van Eeckhoutte, [email protected] .
You can read more about CHBC here  and about DTU Health Tech here .
Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 15 July 2024 (23:59 Danish time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae 
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it. 
Applications 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.
With a vision to improve health and quality of life through technology, DTU Health Tech engages in research, education, and innovation based on technical and natural science. We educate tomorrow’s health tech engineers and create the foundation for new and innovative services and technologies for the globally expanding healthcare sector with its demands for the most advanced technological solutions. DTU Health Tech’s expertise can be described through five overall research areas: Diagnostic Imaging, Digital Health, Personalised Therapy, Precision Diagnostics, and Sensory and Neural Technology. Our technologies and solutions are developed with the aim of benefiting people and creating value for society. The department has a scientific staff of about 210 persons, 140 PhD Students, and a technical/administrative support staff of about 100 persons of which a large majority contributes to our research infrastructure and related commercial activities.
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 mission to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That mission lives on today. DTU has 13,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.

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Job Info
  • Job Identification 3629
  • Job Category Phd
  • Posting Date 06/07/2024, 07:52 AM
  • Apply Before 07/15/2024, 05:59 PM
  • Locations Ørsteds Plads, Kgs. Lyngby, 2800, DK

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    Ørsteds Plads, Kgs. Lyngby, 2800, DK

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