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PhD position on Biomedical Optics

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

7 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht


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

Your duties
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);

Additional information

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 IETLS scores (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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