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  PhD position in Adaptive Optics for Medical Imaging


   Department of Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering

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  Prof Marinko Sarunic  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

4 year funded PhD studentship - Application Deadline: Extended to 28 Feb 2022

A 4 year funded PhD studentship (Fees, Stipend and Research Training Grant) is available in the UCL Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering. Stipend will be at least the UCL minimum (£17,609). Start date will be September 2022 or earlier depending on the availability of the successful applicant.

This studentship is open to Home Fee payers only. Overseas applicants will not be considered for this studentship.

The successful candidate will join the UCL CDT in Intelligent, Integrated Imaging in Healthcare (i4health) cohort and benefit from the activities and events organised by the centre.

Adaptive Optics was initially developed for astronomical imaging with telescopes, providing dynamic correction of distortion caused by turbulence in the atmosphere. The same AO technology can be used for microscopic imaging, controlling the wavefront of light to achieve a perfect focus. AO has been adapted to biomedical optical imaging for a variety of applications, ranging from multiphoton microscopy to non-invasive imaging of human eyes for the early diagnosis of vision robbing diseases. 

The principle behind AO is to characterize the distortions that cause blurring, and to physically compensate for them using a deformable mirror. A common approach to AO implementation measures the wavefront distortions directly using a special type of sensor. The mathematical function describing the distortions is applied to the deformable mirror, shaping the wavefront of the light in order to create a high quality image. An alternative approach uses the image information instead, calculating a quality metric (e.g. brightness or sharpness) in a feed-back loop to optimize the image by exploring the effects of changing the shape of the deformable mirror. 

Research on AO imaging systems provides opportunities to develop skills in optics, imaging systems, programming, control systems, and image processing. This project is jointly funded by Moorfields Eye Charity and the CDT i4health, and the research outcomes will contribute to innovations in early diagnosis and treatment for people with vision robbing diseases.

Research aims: 

Many common vision robbing diseases affect the retina, a neurosensory extension of the brain located at the back of the eye. Challenges in retinal imaging include the physics of optical design, correction of imperfections in the natural eye surfaces, detection of weak signals, high speed electronics, and real-time signal processing to generate images. 

This research includes innovation in various aspects of adaptive optics for retinal imaging, ranging from physical systems with lenses and detectors, and complete imaging system design, to artificial intelligence for AO control, and also image processing and analysis. The high resolution images will be used for early diagnosis of diseases causing blindness and to guide therapeutic intervention. 

Person specification & requirements:

  • Students should have a degree a subject area such as Physics, Medical Physics, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Physics, Biomedical Engineering (concentration in imaging or medical devices), or a related field. 
  • Interest in developing hands-on experimental skills and working in an optics and electronics laboratory is essential. 

How to apply:

Please complete the following steps to apply.

•   Send an expression of interest and current CV to: [Email Address Removed]

Please quote Project Code: 22001 in the email subject line.

•   Make a formal application to via the UCL application portal https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply . Please select the programme code Medical Imaging TMRMEISING01 and enter Project Code 22001 under ‘Name of Award 1’ 

Application Deadline: Extended to 28 Feb 2022

If shortlisted, you will be invited for an interview.


Biological Sciences (4) Engineering (12) Medicine (26) Physics (29)
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