PhD Position on Biomedical Optics

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • PhD Position on Biomedical Optics
  • Doctorate
We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate with a masters or equivalent degree in
(applied) physics or a related field, with a strong interest in biomedical optics who will
work on the optical instrumentation, the model eye development, the oximetry
algorithm development and on the technical and clinical validation. Would you like to
work in an international research group in an academic environment? Please apply at
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Location: AMSTERDAM
FTE:

Job description

Due to ageing, the impact of vision threatening diseases such as diabetic retinopathy (DR) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) on the health care system will only increase.

Within a joint TNO/VU TKI project we will develop techniques to quantitatively assess the oxygen saturation status of the retinal microvasculature. Reduced blood oxygen levels may lead to hypoxia, which is one of the key drivers of the formation of new blood vessels. These new blood vessels are often leaky, which leads to complications such as vision loss and, ultimately, to blindness. The development of techniques to detect the onset of retinal hypoxia will thus allow timely therapeutic interventions that will prevent vision loss.

In this project, we will develop a multi-color scanning laser ophthalmoscope (mcSLO)-based oximeter. The mcSLO will be a versatile research tool that provides freedom in the selection of imaging wavelengths and allows different implementations of light delivery and collection to and from the retina. For the image analysis we will develop novel oximetry algorithms. The performance of the system and algorithms will be validated on model eyes with flow channels containing blood of controlled flow velocity and oxygen saturation. Clinical pilot studies of DR patients, AMD patients and healthy volunteers will be performed to demonstrate local variations in retinal oxygenation between DR, AMD and healthy retinas.

For this project, we are looking for a PhD student who will work on the optical instrumentation, the model eye development, the oximetry algorithm development and on the technical and clinical validation. The research will be conducted at 2 locations, TNO in Delft and VU in Amsterdam. The candidate will be part of the PhD program of the Biomedical Physics Group of the VU, under joint supervision of Prof. dr. A. Amelink and Prof. dr. J.F. de Boer.


Your duties
  • The PhD student will build the mcSLO system and integrate it with a custom-built high-speed tracking system that allows to compensate for eye motion
  • The PhD student will model light-tissue interactions to optimize the oximetry algorithms, and build model eyes that are required for the validation of the system
  • The PhD student will assist in the clinical pilot studies by operating the hardware and performing the image analysis, under supervision of ophthalmologists
  • The research will be conducted at 2 locations, TNO in Delft and VU in Amsterdam. The candidate will be part of the PhD program of the Biomedical Physics Group of the VU, under joint supervision of Prof. Dr. A. Amelink and Prof. Dr. J.F. de Boer


Requirements

  • For this position we are looking for an enthusiastic candidate with a masters or equivalent degree in (applied) physics or a related field, with a strong interest in biomedical optics
  • Candidates should have good experimental skills and be able to communicate in English both verbally and in writing. The project’s results will be presented on national and international medical and technical conferences and in relevant journals
  • The successful candidate is expected to write a dissertation leading to a PhD degree towards the end of the 4-year project


What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,395 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,061 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity
We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

About the Department of Physics and Astronomy
The Department of Physics and Astronomy at VU Amsterdam offers an active and engaged intellectual community composed of researchers from around the world. Research is focused on four themes: (i) high-energy and gravitational physics, (ii) quantum metrology and laser applications, (iii) physics of life and health, and (iv) physics of photosynthesis and energy. The department is involved in teaching in the programs Physics and Astronomy (joint degree with the University of Amsterdam), Science Business and Innovation, Medical Natural Sciences (all three BSc and MSc), and the BSc program in Mechanical Engineering (together with University of Twente). Furthermore, the department has a strong track record in valorization of its research, including translational research to the clinic (often together with the Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc (on campus) and location AMC), collaborations with industry (e.g. ARCNL), and a thriving startup scene.

About TNO
The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO is a non-profit R&D center focused on bringing innovations to the market. The Optics expertise group in Delft employs ~60 people from different nationalities and works on societal challenges such as the energy transition, climate control and healthcare in an ageing society. TNO's research in the field of medical devices focuses mainly on innovative photonicsbased diagnostic devices for use in the entire healthcare chain: for home-based health monitoring and prevention, for improved diagnostics at the general practitioner and in hospitals, as well as for therapy effectiveness monitoring.

Application

Are you interested in this position? Applicants are requested to respond before October 21, 2021, via the application button by uploading the following documents:

•    a letter in which they describe their abilities and motivation
•    a detailed curriculum vitae with two or three references
•    a list of grades, TOEFL and/or IETLS scores (if available)
•    a sample of a written report in English
Please mention the vacancy number in the header of all your documents. Our aim is to schedule the job interviews at the end of October 2021.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Prof. Dr. Arjen Amelink
Position: Endowed Professor, Biophotonics and Medical Imaging
E-mail: a.amelink@vu.nl or arjen.amelink@tno.nl

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