PhD on Photoacoustic imaging of Osteoarthritis

Research / Academic
  • Are you inspired by health care challenges?
  • Are you eager to work on new, cutting-edge, technological developments in the area of medical optics and ultrasound, and bring them to the clinic?
  • Are you our next PhD-candidate in novel and advanced photoacoustic imaging for diagnostics and monitoring?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common and chronic joint disease. Worldwide it affects more than 10% of the people aged 60 years and older, being a major source of pain, disability, and socioeconomic cost. OA generally starts with cartilage damage, and it also involves other joint tissues, such as subchondral bone, ligaments and menisci, and the progression differs per patient. All of this presents clinicians with important challenges. Therefore, a new imaging method is needed that allows early diagnosis and reliable monitoring of OA, which is crucial to enable timely and effective interventions, help achieving better disease control, and postpone the most invasive interventions such as total joint arthroplasty.

Spectroscopic photoacoustic imaging (sPA) can reveal damage-related tissue degradation based on PA spectral contrast in the joint. In this project, the potential of sPA imaging to characterize various tissue damage related to OA progression will be explored. An advanced data processing tool will be created and validated on human joint tissue samples. To move towards clinical translation, a realistic PA simulation framework for OA imaging (digital twin of the joint tissues) will be developed, the feasibility and requirements of an in vivo sPA imaging system will be investigated and a prototype for non-invasive OA imaging will be developed. It will accelerate the clinical translation of the PA technique and potentially improve the management of OA in the future.

The candidate will work on the development of a novel photoacoustic imaging system for joint imaging together with another PhD student in the project, performing PA&US measurements on human joint samples (N=50-100) using the new PA system, developing advanced algorithms to characterize various joint tissues properties based on sPA/US contrast (e.g. spectral unmixing methods), and to relate these tissue properties (changes) to  the OA progression. All the developed methods will eventually be tested in a clinical setting.

The position will be based at the Photoacoustics & Ultrasound Lab Eindhoven (PULS/e) in the Department of Biomedical Engineering under the supervision of dr. ir. M. Wu (PI on photoacoustics), dr. ir. R.G.P. Lopata (head of PULS/e group) and dr. van Donkelaar (associate professor in Orthopaedic Biomechanics group). The PULS/e group consists of a multi-disciplinary and international team of researchers that work on novel imaging US techniques, photoacoustics, image reconstruction, functional imaging, and model-based image analysis. Within this project you will be closely collaborating with Maxima medical center and Fujifilm Visualsonics. Next to the research described above, you will supervise MSc / BSc students that will work on projects within the scope of your own.


  • A master's degree (or an equivalent university degree) in Electrical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering or Physics
  • Affinity with photoacoustics,  optics, ultrasound or a comparable domain.
  • Good experimental skills, good knowledge about optics, experience with image processing will be considered as relevant added values.
  • A research-oriented attitude.
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary team and interested in collaborating with industrial partners.
  • Motivated to develop your teaching skills and coach students.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English (C1 level).
  • Good presentation skills required to present your work for a scientific audience.

Salary Benefits:

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539 gross per month).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.
Work Hours:

38 hours per week


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