PhD candidate to work in the field of wearable ultrasound

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 18 Dec 2022

PhD candidate to work in the field of wearable ultrasound
PhD candidate to work in the field of wearable ultrasound
Published Deadline Location
today 18 Dec Eindhoven

Are you interested in developing fundamental knowledge and innovative wearable ultrasound imaging technology to advance the state of the art in pregnancy monitoring? Do you enjoy technical challenges? This stimulating PhD position might be the right one for you!
Job description
The Biomedical Diagnostic (BM/d) Lab at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is seeking an outstanding PhD candidate to work in the field of wearable ultrasound in collaboration with Philips Research and the Máxima Medical Center in Veldhoven.
Project description
Over 1 in 5 pregnancies in the developed countries are complicated and considered at high-risk, and this number is expected to increase because of the progressive trend to postpone childbirth. Key risks include imminent preterm birth, intra-uterine growth restriction, and fetal asphyxia. When pregnancy complications occur, timely intervention is crucial, but hampered by current diagnostics based on cardiotocography (CTG), which measures fetal heart rate and uterine contractions by a combination of ultrasound Doppler and surface strain measurements using a belt surrounding the abdomen. While Doppler requires user interaction for repositioning the ultrasound probe because of signal loss, the measurement of uterine contractions is inaccurate and cannot assess contraction intensity. In this project, we will introduce a new cMUT (capacitive micro-machined ultrasound technology) device to replace current CTG diagnostics with an ultrasound solution that is more accurate and does not require user interaction. cMUT technology allows producing disposable matrix transducers that can be positioned on the abdomen in the form of a thin patch, opening up new horizons for long-term pregnancy monitoring by ultrasound.
The PhD project will focus on the development of adaptive driving schemes with frequency tuning to combine optimal acquisition from the near field (uterus) and far field (fetal heart). In particular, dynamic ultrasound beam forming/steering will be used for automatic tracking of the fetal heart, optimizing the balance between transmitted energy and quality of the Doppler signal, without need for user interaction for repositioning of the patch. Focusing on the near field, Doppler analysis will permit the analysis of uterine strain and thickening for the detection of uterine contractions. Simultaneous detection of uterine contractions and fetal heart rate will provide valuable diagnostic information on the fetal well-being by evaluation of the fetal autonomic (heart rate) response to uterine pressure increase. This project builds on the expertise of the Biomedical Diagnostics (BM/d) Lab of the Signal Processing Systems (SPS) group, part of the Electrical Engineering Dept of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), in adaptive signal processing, ultrasound beam forming, and ultrasound quantification, as well as in pregnancy monitoring by ultrasound Doppler and electrophysiological measurements, with over 20 years of experience. Dedicated infrastructure such as lab equipment and computation power will be made available for the project.
The project is part of a large EU KDT program combining over 30 international partners. This will give the opportunity to work and interact within a multidisciplinary, multicultural environment. The specific tasks related to the offered PhD position will in particular be carried out in tight collaboration with the PULS/e Lab of the Biomedical Engineering Department of the TU/e, as well as with Philips and the Máxima Medical Center in Veldhoven, providing both industrial and clinical inputs to the project. The project is also embedded within the Eindhoven MedTech Innovation Center (e/MTIC), a large, structured collaboration between the TU/e, Philips, and the regional hospitals in the Eindhoven area.
Your task will be:
The activities of this PhD project will be focused on the development of an ultrasound-only solution for performing cardiotocographic measurements based on a cMUT patch. The main envisioned tasks towards such solution are related to the investigation and development of the following building blocks:
  • Dynamic driving schemes for tracking the fetal heart.
  • Dynamic frequency tuning for focusing at different depths (fetal heart and myometrium).
  • Accurate Doppler estimation of fetal heart movement.
  • Dedicated algorithm for fetal heart-rate estimation based on a probabilistic framework.
  • Assessment of uterine contractions based on tissue Doppler measurements (or speckle tracking) in the myometrium.
  • Analysis of the extracted features for assessment of fetal well-being and risk of preterm delivery. Depending on the available data, probabilistic interpretation by machine learning is also envisaged.

Academic and Research Environment:
The Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is one of Europe's top technological universities, situated in the heart of one of Europe's largest high-tech innovation ecosystems. Research at TU/e is characterized by a combination of academic excellence and a strong real-world impact. This impact is pursued via close collaboration with high-tech industries and clinical partners.
Research related to this position will be carried out at the Biomedical Diagnostics (BM/d) lab of the Signal Processing Systems (SPS) group, which is part of the Electrical Engineering department. The BM/d lab, chaired by Prof. Mischi, has a strong track record in biomedical image and signal analysis, ranging from electrophysiology to ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. Specific background and equipment in relation to the offered PhD position is especially available in the lab, with emphasis on quantitative ultrasound imaging, ultrasound beamforming, and pregnancy monitoring. For more information, see https://www.tue.nl/en/research/research-groups/biomedical-diagnostics-lab/ .
The candidate will have the opportunity to work with various members of the SPS and the PULS/e group, in tight collaboration with scientists at Philips Research and clinicians at the Máxima Medical Center in Veldhoven.
Specifications
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • Eindhoven View on Google Maps

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


Requirements
We are looking for candidates that match the following profile:
  • Master's degree in Electrical/Biomedical Engineering, Physics, or related disciplines with excellent grades.
  • Excellent knowledge of signal processing/analysis methods.
  • Affinity with ultrasound technology and image formation.
  • Proven programming skills (e.g., in Matlab, Python, C, C++).
  • Team player attitude, interested in collaborating with different teams.
  • High motivation and creativity.
  • Good communication and organization skills.
  • Excellent English language skills (written and oral).

Additional qualifications:
  • Knowledge of ultrasound imaging

Conditions of employment
A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:
  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • A minimum of 41 holidays per year (excluding bank holidays, for a full-time employment of 40 hrs/week)
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process .
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • Assistance for finding accommodation is offered.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Additional information
About us
Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. 
Information
For more information about the project and any informal enquiries, please contact prof. M. Mischi (m.mischi[at]tue.nl)
Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact HR (hrservices.flux[at]tue.nl).
Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page .
Application
If interested, please use 'apply now'-button at the top of this page. You should upload the following:
  • a cover letter explaining your motivation and suitability for the position;
  • a detailed Curriculum Vitae (including English proficiency level, nationality, VISA requirements, date of birth as well as programming skills, experience overview, publication list (if any), and key achievements in research project(s));
  • contact information of two academic references;
  • copies of diplomas with course grades;

Candidates will be selected based on graduation mark and proficiency at university including consideration of the reputation of the university, relevant experience and skills, writing skills and publications, work experience as well as performance in interviews.
Application deadline: 18 December 2022
Please keep in mind; you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each.
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