Artificial Intelligence and multiparametric MRI for automated detection and characterisation of prostate cancer


   Auckland Bioengineering Institute

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  Dr Hayley Reynolds  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Interested in a rewarding career in bioengineering? Get sponsored to do life-changing research in New Zealand!

Prostate cancer is the second most common male cancer worldwide and its incidence continues to grow. In this exciting and unique PhD project you develop advanced technology to optimise prostate cancer diagnosis. This will be done by developing artificial intelligence methods to automatically locate and characterise prostate cancer in multiparametric MRI data, to improve the placement of an innovative diagnostic probe developed at the University of Auckland.

Current prostate cancer diagnostic accuracy ranges from 20-80% and involves MRI, alongside multiple rounds of invasive biopsies. Diagnosed patients often undergo radical prostatectomy, but positive surgical margins (cancer cells spreading into non-resected tissue) can occur in up to 38% of patients. Such positive margins are strongly correlated to disease recurrence, which is a significant issue, especially considering that margin assessment is performed by pathologists and takes several days or weeks post-surgery.

Earlier clinical trials run by our team have demonstrated that our photonic probe can accurately diagnose and grade prostate cancer on freshly excised biopsy tissue with high sensitivity and specificity. The next step is to develop AI-methods for multiparametric MRI to contribute to in vivo testing of the device which will optimise its clinical use. This will allow for real-time, rapid, and accurate in vivo measurements for cancer diagnosis and surgical borders assessment during prostatectomies to improve surgery outcomes.

PhD project objectives

The PhD candidate will be part of a diverse and supportive research group focusing on several critical aspects of the development of this technology:

  • Development of AI-based methods to automatically segment prostate cancer and define tumour biology in multiparametric MRI
  • Quantitatively compare and combine radiomic features from MRI with tissue biomolecular profiles shown by the photonic probe in-vivo measurements
  • Work with our research and clinical team to integrate the AI-based algorithms with the photonic probe, for use in the clinic within a surgical setting.

Desired skills

  • A background in Bioengineering, Physics, Computer Science or related discipline
  • Experience with image analysis and machine learning and/or deep learning
  • Strong programming skills, preferably with Python
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills

Find out more about this project and other projects on our website here.

The Auckland Bioengineering Institute - breaking boundaries in bioengineering for more than 20 years

At the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI), we apply engineering and technical innovation to advancing medical care, human capability, and understanding of human physiology. Our team of world-renowned researchers are working on everything from artificial intelligence avatars, to implantable devices, to digital models of the human body. Our focus on research excellence and commercialisation adds value to society and to the global economy.

Our research makes a real difference in the world. We’ve designed sensors to diagnose stomach disease without needing invasive surgery; developed a tiny wireless implantable device to measure brain pressure and save the lives of children with hydrocephalus; and we lead the world in building digital models of the human body which will enhance personalised medicine approaches for improved diagnosis and treatment.

Join our team of researchers for a postgraduate degree and together we can make a difference. Our graduates are amongst the most employable in the world - many either continue their career in research, find employment with industry leaders such as Rocket Lab or Fisher & Paykel, or launch their own startup companies.

Our students come from over 50 different countries and a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines, including Engineering, Medicine, Mathematics and Science.

Want to know what our students think about studying at the ABI? Watch this video!

Computer Science (8) Engineering (12)
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 About the Project