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PhD Studentship: Quantifying image distortion in MRI for Radiotherapy treatment planning

UCL - UCL CDT in Intelligent, Integrated Imaging in Healthcare

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 6th December 2022
Closes: 15th January 2023
Reference: 23006

Quantifying image distortion in MRI for Radiotherapy treatment planning

Supervisors:  Simon Walker-Samuel, Chris Clark

A 4 year funded PhD studentship is available jointly at the UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and UCL GOS Institute of Child Health  , with additional partners at the National Physical Laboratory and CaliberMRI Funding will be at least the UCL minimum. Stipend details can be found here.

The successful candidate will join the UCL CDT in Intelligent, Integrated Imaging in Healthcare (i4health) cohort and benefit from the activities and events organised by the centre.

Project Background:

Quantitative MRI approaches are increasingly being applied clinically. These methods seek to do more than just form anatomical images, they use the scanner to make measurements of the physical properties of tissues and hence inform clinical decision making in ways not possible with conventional MRI. One key application is Radiotherapy treatment planning, where the radiation dose given to a patient is targeted and shaped to the specific tumour using image data. Due to its lack of ionising radiation and unique soft tissue contrast, MRI provides a safe and accurate way to image the tumour being targeted.

One important consideration in MRI is the geometry of the applied magnetic field. Scanners are carefully designed and calibrated to make fields as uniform as possible, but the presence of a patient in the scanner unavoidably distorts the field, and hence the image.

This is an important consideration for any image used in clinical decision-making but in therapeutic applications distortion is even more important – the treatment planning system needs to be confident that the tumour is where it appears to be in the image or radiation dosage will be delivered to healthy tissues surround the tumour.

Research Aims:

This project will produce a novel MR phantom used to quantify image distortion using clinically applied pulse sequences and hardware. The project will develop materials with controllable magnetic susceptibility which are suitable for 3D-printing. This enables the construction of reference objects with complex geometries. We will also explore simulation of the interaction between the phantom and field.

The project covers:

  • Development of susceptibility-matched materials
  • Design of 3D printed distortion phantoms of a range of complexities
  • MRI scanning of test objects and volunteers
  • Simulation of phantoms and applied field and pulse sequences
  • Performance of image distortion correction algorithms
  • Quantification of image-based uncertainties due to field distortion and processing

Person specification & requirements:

The project includes phantom development, 3D printing, metrology, and simulation. We don’t expect you to have experience in all of this, but a background relevant to one or more is desirable. A background in a numerate discipline such as physics, maths, engineering, or computer science would work, as would a background in imaging, especially MRI. This could take the form of a degree (and masters if appropriate) or other relevant career experience, for example in clinical MR physics or advanced manufacturing.

Application Deadline: January 15th 2023

How to apply:

Please complete the following steps to apply.

  • Send an expression of interest and current CV to: simon.walkersamuel@ucl.ac.uk and cdtadmin@ucl.ac.uk Please quote Project Code:  23006 in the email subject line.
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