1. PhD Position on Biomedical Optics, Vrije University Amsterdam

    PhD Position on Biomedical Optics, Vrije University Amsterdam

    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. In this 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 PhD student will further develop 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. Finally, the PhD student will assist in the clinical pilot studies by operating the hardware and performing the image analysis, in collaboration with ophthalmologists.
    The research will be conducted at the VU. At the VU, the candidate will be part of the PhD program of the Biomedical Photonics Group, under supervision of prof. dr. J.F. de Boer.

    For this position we are looking for an enthusiastic candidate with a master or equivalent degree in (applied) physics or a strongly related field, with an interest in biomedical optics. Candidates should have good experimental skills in optical physics 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.
    • degree in (applied) physics, with an interest in optics
    • knowledge of and experience with an optical experimental environment
    • good communication skills
    • curiosity and result driven

    A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €2,972 (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 0.8 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:
    • solid pension scheme (ABP)
    • contribution to commuting expenses
    • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge
    • discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance);

    The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 24,500 students. We employ more than 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

    Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

    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, institute, project
    The project will be conducted in the Biophotonics section of the department of Physics at the VU University, Amsterdam. The research group has an excellent international reputation for groundbreaking research in biophotonics, developing new imaging technologies and the translation to a clinical environment. The scientific environment is excellent, embedded in a strong physics environment and in close proximity and with close collaboration to the department of Ophthalmology, VUmc. The Physics department is part of LaserLaB, an internationally renowned research institute.

    If you are interested in this position, you are requested to write a letter in which you describe your abilities and motivation. Please apply via the application button and upload your letter, a detailed curriculum vitae, a list of grades, TOEFL and/or IETLSscores (if available) and if available a sample of a written report in English (e.g. Master Thesis).

    Please apply as soon as possible. The position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.

    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. J.F. de Boer
    Position: Professor
    E-mail: jfdeboer@few.vu.nl

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