PhD Improving motion robustness for fetal 3D cine and 4D flow MRI

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 12 Jun 2023

1 Jun 2023
Job Information

Amsterdam UMC
Research Field

Medical sciences
Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

12 Jun 2023 - 21:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common of all major congenital anomalies and affects around 9 out of 1000 live births. Mortality rates have been reduced, but CHD is still the second most frequent cause of neonatal death. To prepare parents and doctors in a timely and suitable fashion for open heart surgery of a newborn with significant CHD, the abnormality needs to be diagnosed as early as possible during pregnancy.

Fetal echocardiography has significantly improved antenatal diagnosis of CHD, but is not always conclusive. Fetal cardiac MRI (CMR) has the potential to provide a conclusive second opinion when challenges such as motion of the fetus, limited spatial resolution, motion of maternal breathing and the difficulty of synchronizing the CMR acquisition to the fetal electrocardiogram (ECG) are mitigated.

To advance the diagnostic capabilities and the application at younger gestational ages, in this PhD project you will be working on improving current fetal CMR protocols including groundbreaking new technology such as Echo Doppler ECG gating, 3D cine and 4D flow MRI.

About your role
Current fetal CMR protocols can be improved by:

  • Improving signal handling of "smart-sync": an echo Doppler device that records the heart beat (ECG) of the fetus (and shows disruptions when the fetus moves) and transfers this signal to the MRI-scanner for optimal synchronization of the fetal heart beat and fetal motion with the MRI acquisitions. Smart-sync is a device developed by Northh medical GmbH located in Hamburg and this objective will be performed in collaboration with Northh.
  • Testing of motion-robustness and reproducibility of smart-sync and new MRI technologies in 10 adult volunteers who will be instructed to perform various breathing and motion experiments in the CMR scanner and in 8 fetuses with CHD.
  • Validating these novel technologies in 10 fetal sheep. Fetal sheep experiments allow ad hoc adjustment of CMR parameters without unnecessarily increasing scan burden for (human) pregnant mothers.
  • Inclusion, in collaboration with pediatric cardiologists from the department of pediatrics, of 60 pregnant women carrying fetuses with suspected CHD on echocardiography. MRI scanning of the fetuses with "smart-sync" technology will be performed with MRI techniques including slice-to-volume black blood, 3D cine and 4D flow MRI.
  • Data analysis, quantification and visualization for presentations and scientific papers.
  • You will be teamed with another PhD student who will have more focus on the technical aspects of the project:

  • Developing 3D radial scanning of 3D cine and 4D flow MRI
  • Developing image reconstruction algorithms
  • Validating these novel technologies in 10 fetal sheep
  • The position is financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) Open technology Program.

    Your tasks will be:

    • You will implement, optimize and test new approaches for signal-handling by smart-sync, the MRI scanner and reconstruction algorithms
    • You will include and scan 10 healthy volunteers and 68 fetuses with suspected CHD
    • You will process the data in terms of segmentation, quantification and visualization
    • Perform statistics on the results
    • You will be part of the MRI-physics group at the Amsterdam UMC, in which you will closely work together with other PhD candidates (with technical and medical backgrounds).
    • You will perform novel academic research.
    • Your research will be published in top-rated high-impact peer-reviewed journals.
    • You will regularly be presenting the work at (international) conferences.
    • You will assist in relevant teaching activities.
    • You will collaborate with your fellow medical physics PhD students and help your fellow clinical PhD students in their trials.

    Specific Requirements

    We are searching for candidates who want to apply their clinical and technical expertise to improve healthcare.

    We expect the candidate to be able to learn and understand the technical details of MRI and processing of the data. The candidate will scan test subjects, patients and sheep, so the candidate must be able to include these subjects in the study and obtain their MRI scans.

    The candidate must function in a multidisciplinary team and collaborate with health care providers and MR-physics researchers to develop the latest techniques and show the clinical advantages of these techniques in test subjects and sheep.

    A candidate must have:

    • An MSc degree in Technical Medicine, Biomedical Engineering or a similar study (please state your average grade and most relevant courses)
    • An interdisciplinary mindset; open and proactive in interacting with researchers from different disciplines (e.g. health care providers, medical researchers and other technical researchers)
    • Programming experience (Programming skills in Matlab, Python and/or C++ are a bonus)
    • English communication, presentation, and writing skills
    • An interest in health care and, in particular, MRI
    • Highly motivated and creative

    Additional Information

    Working at the Amsterdam UMC means working in an inspiring and professional environment in which developing one`s talents and skills are encouraged. As a PhD candidate, you have access to the Graduate School to further develop your skills. We offer a salary in line with the Collective Labor Agreement for University Medical Centers in the Netherlands (CAO UMC).. We offer:

    • A great start of you career in research
    • Ample room for your initiatives to help in shaping the future of healthcare
    • For you to work on large and small scale research with motivated colleagues from all around the world
    • PhD students (Onderzoeker in Opleiding) are placed on scale 21, with a full-time gross salary that ranges from €2.789,- to €3.536,- based on qualifications and experience.
    • In addition to a good basic salary, you will also receive an 8.3% year-end bonus and an 8% holiday allowance.
    • A contract for one year (12 months), to be extended after a successful evaluation in the first year wiht another 3 years (36 months).
    • Pension accrual at BeFrank, a modern, understandable and fairly priced pension.
    • Excellent accessibility by public transport and reimbursement of a large part of your travel costs. In addition, we have sufficient parking spaces at the AMC location and a good bicycle scheme.

    Additional comments

    During the publication period, applications will be handled continuously. If the vacancy is filled, it will be closed prematurely.

    If you have any questions about this position, please feel free to contact Pim van Ooij, .

    For more information about the application procedure, please contact Tanja Hart, Recruitment Advisor, via or via 06-21603178.

    A reference check, screening and hiring test may be part of the procedure. Read here whether that applies to you. If you join us, we ask you for a VOG (Certificate of Good Conduct).

    Internal candidates will be given priority over external candidates in case of equal suitability.

    Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

    Website for additional job details

    Work Location(s)
    Number of offers available
    Amsterdam UMC
    Postal Code
    Meibergdreef 9

    Where to apply


    Amsterdam Zuidoost

    Meibergdreef 9
    Postal Code

    1105 AZ

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