Dementia is well-recognised as a significant burden to healthcare and society with challenges in diagnosis and prognosis. Our group are currently developing novel PET/MRI biomarkers to measure vascular and neuronal pathology through an EPSRC funded grant (EP/M005909/1). This PhD aims to build on this success by developing methods that combine PET and MRI data when reconstructing images and examining benefit. The hypothesis is that more information can be obtained from such an approach than from the sum of information from these modalities obtained in isolation.
The project will be divided into a number of objectives:
- Identification of image features for improved reconstruction - Implementation and evaluation of novel joint modality image reconstruction algorithms - Optimisation and evaluation of the robustness of the algorithm to confounding factors which limit translation into research practice.
The project will apply a number of methods including Monte Carlo simulations; phantom data and previously collected clinical data.
In addition to the normal output of publications it is hoped that the developed algorithms will provide tools to clinical researchers using PET-MR in dementia. It may also be possible to use these methods to provide adequate information with less data, shortening acquisition times and/or reducing injected radioactive doses to patients.
Training in both PET and MRI will be provided (acquisition, analysis and applications), including cross modality expertise which is uncommon and of particular relevance to recent developments in PET-MR scanners. In addition, PET and MRI physics and broader mathematical and numerical methodologies will be covered. The Ph.D. will also provide opportunities to collaborate and interact with other UK students and scientists through a recently funded network (http://www.ccppetmr.ac.uk/)
The project will be based at the Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre (WMIC) a stimulating environment with opportunities to interact with other early-career researchers and observe scan acquisitions. In addition through the Centre for Imaging Sciences the successful candidate will be able to attend a number of seminar series and lecture courses given as part of our MSc in Medical Imaging.
The 4-year EPSRC DTP studentship provides full support for tuition fees, a conference/travel allowance and annual minimum tax-free stipend at UK Research Council rates (£14, 057 from 2015/16). Due to commence October 2015, the project is open to UK/EU nationals only due to the nature of the funding.
Applicants should hold (or expect to obtain) a minimum upper-second honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant analytical subject such as mathematics, physics or biomedical engineering. A Masters qualification in a similar area would be an advantage.
Please direct applications in the following format to Dr Julian Matthews ([Email Address Removed]):
• Academic CV • Official academic transcripts • Contact details for two suitable referees • A personal statement (750 words maximum) outlining your suitability for the study, what you hope to achieve from the PhD and your research experience to date.
Any enquiries relating to the project and/or suitability should be directed to Dr Matthews. Applications are invited up to and including Friday 17 July 2015. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed late July.
The project is open to UK/EU nationals only due to the nature of the funding.
Herholz, K., Evans, R., Anton-Rodriguez, J., Hinz, R., Matthews, J. C. “The effect of 18F-florbetapir dose reduction on region-based classification of cortical amyloid deposition”, European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, 2014