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Diagnosis of prostate cancer using viscoelasticity measurement of Optical Coherence Elastography

School of Science and Engineering

Dundee United Kingdom Biomedical Engineering Cancer Biology Radiology

About the Project

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed malignancy in men. Digital rectal examination (DRE) - a known clinical tool based on alteration in the mechanical properties of tissues due to cancer has traditionally been used for screening prostate cancer. Essentially, DRE estimates relative stiffness of cancerous and normal prostate tissue. Such as measurement provides insight into detection and progression of disease. Suspected men with abnormal DRE are offered further diagnostic test to confirm diagnosis. Current diagnostic approach using grey scale ultrasound guided biopsies has multiple limitations including inability to differentiate aggressive from indolent prostate cancers. This proposal addresses the challenge by evaluating the role of optical coherence elastography (OCE) in the detection and differentiation of aggressive from indolent cancers. OCE has several inherent advantages such as micron-scale resolution, millimetre-scale penetration depth and non-destructive imaging and has huge clinical potential. Current, the OCE system can differentiate normal and malignant tissue, however, it is difficult to differentiate degree of cancer.

Pathological changes are usually correlated with changes in mechanical properties of soft tissues, such as Young’s modulus. Therefore, fully characterization of mechanical properties of soft tissue (elasticity and viscosity) would help to identify pathology regardless of observers and subject variations and further to differentiate degree of cancer. Aim of this project is to measure viscoelasticity of prostate biopsy from man suspected with Prostate cancer and identify the relationship between the viscosity, elasticity and tumor malignancy.

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Dr Chunhui Li ()
For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact

Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a first or 2.1 UK honours degree, or equivalent for degrees obtained outside the UK in a relevant discipline.

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 5.5 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s English language requirements are available online:


Step 1: Email Dr Chunhui Li () to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

Step 2: After discussion with Dr Li, formal applications can be made via UCAS Postgraduate. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

Apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Biomedical Engineering: Select the start date and study mode (full-time/part-time) agreed with the lead supervisor.

In the ‘provider questions’ section of the application form:
- Write the project title and ‘’ in the ‘if your application is in response to an advertisement’ box;
- Write the lead supervisor’s name and give brief details of your previous contact with them in the ‘previous contact with the University of Dundee’ box.

In the ‘personal statement’ section of the application form, outline your suitability for the project selected.

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees, project specific bench fees and living expenses via external sponsorship or self-funding.

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