PhD Studentship Opportunity in a Methodology for breast density measurement using hyperspectral X-ray imaging
Breast density, i.e., the proportion of glandular and fatty tissues in a breast, is a known indicator of breast cancer risk. A reliable method to measure it would allow each woman to be allocated a personalised screening schedule, with high-risk women being screened more often than low-risk women. This would optimise breast screening, its cost, and ensure that women are not unnecessarily exposed to potentially harmful X-ray doses.
The project is aimed at developing a novel methodology for breast density measurement. It is based on the use of the HEXITEC pixellated spectroscopic X-ray detector technology, providing, for each sensor pixel, a spectrum of the radiation detected; this allows simultaneous acquisitions of multiple images at different X-ray energies.
You will characterise and optimise the detector, and develop algorithms to combine the information at different energies to provide a map of the thicknesses of glandular and fatty tissue across the breast. The algorithms will be initially developed on simulated data, then tested experimentally on custom-developed test objects.
The supervisory team at Surrey includes Dr Pani from the Physics department and Prof Evans from the Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing; they will be joined by Dr Harris, team leader of the Imaging for Radiotherapy group at Institute of Cancer Research and Mr Wilson, head of the Detector Development Group at Rutherford Appleton Laboratories.
In addition to the support offered by the Doctoral College of the University and the GRADnet consortium, there will be opportunities for training and mentoring at the two partner institutions, to gain familiarity with both detector development processes and clinical procedures.
The project is funded through the STFC Cancer Diagnosis Network+, bringing together the academic, clinical and industrial community to address the challenges of cancer diagnosis. The student will present their results at Network+ meetings and national/international conferences.
Applicants must have a BSc/Masters in Physics or Electronic Engineering with at least 2.1. The ideal candidate will have sound foundations in programming and strong experimental skills. IELTS: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category.
How to apply:
Applicants should apply through the PhD course page: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/physics-phd . Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your applicant. Any enquiries about the studentship should be sent to Dr Silvia Pani: [Email Address Removed]. Interviews will take place in late May.
The studentship fully covers all academic fees with an initial stipend of £15,009 per annum for UK/EU students. Funding for future years will be subjected to the UKRI increase.