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PhD in Automated Online Adaptive Proton Therapy

Research / Academic
Delft

Radiotherapy (RT) is a key treatment modality for cancer, but side-effects can have significant negative impact on patients' quality-of-life. Intensity-Modulated Proton Therapy (IMPT) is a new type of RT, holding the promise of better preserving normal tissues surrounding the tumor, due to the finite range of protons. However, IMPT's advantage also comes at the cost of increased sensitivity to uncertainties in patient alignment and dose calculation, or changes in patient anatomy, which can never be completely eliminated. To account for uncertainties in IMPT, robust treatment planning has been proposed, where possible errors are directly incorporated in treatment planning. Robust planning decreases the sensitivity of treatments, however at the cost of irradiating larger volumes around target structures, thus degrading the superior normal tissue sparing potential of IMPT.

To provide a solution, the HollandPTC funded IMAGINATION project aims to take leap in IMPT treatments by developting and clinically implementing for the first time worldwide fully automated online adaptive proton therapy. This will enable IMPT treatments to be adjusted to the exact anatomy of the patient on each day without any interaction from the physicians and the treatment planners, thus making use of the full tissue sparing potential offered by IMPT. This is a collaborative project between TU Delft, Erasmus MC and HollandPTC, in which 2 PhDs will work closely together with the 3 institutes and their staff. During the project numerical methods and algorithms will be developed that enable automated progressive daily adaptation of the treatment plans during the course of the treatment; fast online refinement of treatments before each treatment session; automated quality assurance of adapted and refined plans; and online patient specific quality assurance based on the actually delivered treatment.

Requirements:

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student with a keen interest in developing numerical methods and software algorithms for automated online quality assurance of automated online adaptive IMPT treatments. The candidate should meet the following requirements:

  • Solid background in applied mathematics and computational physics, especially in probability theory, numerical analysis, and model and algorithm development.
  • MSc degree in Applied Physics, Applied Mathematics, Medical Physics, Biomedical Engineering or equivalent.
  • Programming experience in at least one current language (e.g. Matlab, Python, C/C++).
  • Excellent communication skills in English, both in writing and speaking.
  • Good team-player, ability to work in a collaborative environment with the Erasmus MC PhD and the project partners.
  • A background in radiotherapy or medical physics is a plus, but not necessary.

Salary Benefits:

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit www.tudelft.nl/phd for more information.

 

Work Hours:

36 - 40 hours per week

Address:

Mekelweg 15