Length: 4/5 years starting in 2024
Gratification: 2100 €/month/1st year, 2200 €/month/2nd year, 2300 €/month/3rd year
Position: Funded by the ERC Starting Grant "KOLOR SPCCT Imaging" (kick off scheduled in april 2024, funding for 5 years).
Keywords: Lung diseases; Spectral photon-counting CT; Morphologic imaging; Functional imaging; Contrast agent; Ventilation imaging; Perfusion imaging; Molecular imaging; animal studies; clinical translation.
X-ray computed tomography (CT) is the mainstay of lung imaging due to its higher spatial resolution, convenience, availability and faster acquisition time compared to other imaging methods such as magnetic resonance imaging and nuclear imaging. However, it only provides morphological characterization, which is not fully suitable for lung diseases that are a complex combination of respiratory, vascular and inflammatory dysfunctions. Their diagnosis requires both morphological and functional analysis of ventilation, perfusion and molecular biomarkers. As so, standard of care relies on a multimodal diagnostic workup involving scintigraphy, positron emission tomography and tissue biopsy. This has three main drawbacks: it's either not precise enough or is invasive, and in any case it's time-consuming while worsening the patient's prognosis.
The spectral photon-counting CT (SPCCT) is an emerging technology that not only capitalizes on all the advantages of morphological CT imaging, but also offers a cutting-edge imaging method known as K-edge color imaging. This method allows the specific and quantitative identification of one or more atoms concomitantly within a tissue, enabling the simultaneous functional imaging of independent or interactive processes. However, Color K-edge imaging is still limited by its low sensitivity and the scarcity of tracers for potential use in humans, and has therefore not yet been put into practice.
By combining medical imaging, respirology, chemistry and physics, KOLOR SPCCT Imaging will bridge morphological and functional imaging in one single breath-hold. To reach this goal, it will provide:
- Color lung K-Edge imaging: develop a high-sensitive dedicated imaging tool
- Diagnosis of lung diseases: provide a “one-breath hold” ventilation and perfusion imaging in healthy animals and animal models
- Prediction of lung diseases: provide a “one-breath-hold” monitoring of the molecular inflammatory burden in animal models
KOLOR SPCCT Imaging will provide unprecedented knowledge on ventilation, perfusion, molecular inflammatory response and their interaction. It will develop K-edge Color imaging to provide specific and quantitative high-resolution imaging with the use of non-specific and specific tracers on key pulmonary applications in animal models: pulmonary embolism, cancer and fibrosis. It will bring a paradigm shift for diagnosis and prognosis of lung diseases, allowing an earlier and more precise diagnosis of lung disease for a higher chance of survival of the patients.
- Develop high-resolution quantitative perfusion imaging in combination with K-edge contrast agents in ex vivo lungs and in vivo healthy animals
- Evaluate the contrast agent biodistribution in animal models (rabbits and pigs) of pulmonary embolism, lung cancer and fibrosis
- Monitor the molecular inflammatory burden in animal models of lung fibrosis and cancer, known as a key factor of recurrency and growth of lung diseases
- Validate the diagnostic performances in comparison with method of reference perfusion lung scintigraphy using 99mTc-DTPA with single photon emission CT/CT, K-edge subtraction computed tomography imaging by synchrotron radiation, single photon emission CT/CT by chelating 111indium chloride (111In), quantitative immunohistochemistry)
- Validate the quantification of inflammation burden in comparison with method of reference (translocator protein-specific positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer that is specific to the translocator protein (TSPO), multi-scale spectral phase contrast imaging at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, in-depth histology).
- MSc in Biomedical Engineering
- Interdisciplinary experience
- Basic knowledge of medical imaging
- Proficiency in English.
- Cover letter, Curriculum Vitae
- MSc diploma
- Any additional document: letter(s) of recommendation, publications, etc.
- Please feel free to contact me beforehand for any further pieces of information (email@example.com).
More details in the PhD proposal.