Cardiovascular disease remains the major cause of death for people at middle age. In the carotid arteries feeding the brain, vulnerable plaque rupture can cause blood vessels to become blocked, causing stroke. Currently, the decision to perform a high-risk surgical intervention is based on the severity of narrowing of the vessel alone, measured with ultrasound imaging. However, this does not distinguish between vulnerable (rupture-prone) and harmless plaques, leading to severe overtreatment. Consequently, there is a worldwide unmet and urgent clinical need for information to enable diagnosis of carotid plaque vulnerability, avoiding cardiovascular events and reducing overtreatment risk.
Our group participates in a project within the Horizon 2020 framework of the European Union that aims to revolutionize screening, diagnosis and monitoring of cardiovascular disease by building a compact photoacoustic imaging system. The objective of the CVENT project is the development of such a system for the diagnosis and monitoring of carotid plaque vulnerability. The combination of high optical contrast of a photoacoustic imaging system and the high resolution of ultrasound will be used to identify plaque vulnerability. Photoacoustic and elastographic measurements on plaque morphology and properties, and their validation both in vitro and in vivo, will be the focus of the PhD student.
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
TU/e is a leading international university specializing in Engineering Science & Technology. Through excellent teaching and research we contribute to progress in the technical sciences, to the development of technological innovations, and as a result to the growth of prosperity and welfare in the region and beyond. TU/e maintains close links with industry, healthcare and the building and logistics sectors.
Biomedical Engineering (BME)
The Department of Biomedical Engineering offers Bachelor's and Master's programs in Biomedical Engineering, Medical Sciences and Technology, and Medical Engineering. In addition, the department participates in leading national and international research programs. Research areas range from Molecular Bioengineering and Molecular Imaging, Biomechanics and Tissue Engineering to Biomedical Imaging and Modeling. The department has more than 1000 students and 200 staff members.
Cardiovascular Biomechanics (CVBM)
The Cardiovascular Biomechanics group investigates the human cardiovascular system to find new diagnostic and/or therapeutic methods for cardiovascular disease. Our approach is model- and sensor-based assessment of cardiovascular properties, and translation of these properties into diagnostic or therapeutically relevant numbers or patient properties. With respect to measurement technology, a large focus lies on ultrasound functional imaging.
The group shares excellent computational and experimental facilities with the groups of tissue engineering and orthopaedic biomechanics of the department of biomedical engineering, and polymer engineering and metals research of the department of mechanical engineering. We have a solid track record on diagnostic methods that have already found their way to the clinic.
We are looking for high-level candidates with an MSc degree in physics, biomedical, electrical, or mechanical engineering. Candidates with experience in ultrasound and/or photoacoustic imaging for biomedical applications and signal processing have our preference. For the in vivo validation study, we seek a candidate with strong communicational skills, \preferably with a high level of proficiency in the Dutch language.
You will be employed by Eindhoven University of Technology in the group of Cardiovascular Biomechanics. During the project you will collaborate closely with the local hospital (Catharina Ziekenhuis Eindhoven) and the researchers within the CVENT consortium.
For more information you can contact the project leader, dr.ir. Richard Lopata, e-mail: