Transplant centers worldwide are increasingly utilizing ex vivo normothermic (37°C) machine perfusion to better preserve, evaluate and potentially even repair damaged donor kidneys prior to transplantation. However, in depth understanding of ex vivo organ physiology is lacking, which seriously impairs our ability to reliably evaluate organ quality during perfusion. In addition, it remains uncertain to what extent normothermic perfusion strategies conserve organ quality better than standard cold preservation techniques. In the EU-funded PRE-IMAGE project, we will focus on these important questions, by combining multi-omics with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during ex vivo normothermic kidney perfusion.
Your PhD research will be embedded in the framework of the PRE-IMAGE collaboration. In your PhD project, you will have the opportunity to further explore ex vivo kidney perfusion techniques as well as renal fMRI, both from a technical/engineering and from a biological point of view. You will be actively involved in multicenter experimental and clinical studies that characterize ex vivo renal physiology, as well as determine the diagnostic and biological advantage of normothermic ex vivo kidney perfusion prior to transplantation. Thus, your research will be an important contribution to better understanding how deceased donor kidneys should be assessed, in order to transplant more good organs.
Specifically, together with our current team of PhD students and technicians, you will:
- set up and conduct an extensive series of experimental (porcine) kidney perfusions in an MRI scanner, where you will study in and ex vivo renal physiology side-by-side, by means of multi-omics and advanced functional imaging sequences;
- set up and conduct a large multicenter clinical study in which human kidneys will, for the first time ever, undergo several hours of normothermic ex vivo perfusion prior to actual transplantation.
Please visit the website for more in-depth information.
Last but not least,
you will be encouraged to train as a clinical organ perfusionist and participate as team member at the UMCG’s Organ Perfusion and Resuscitation facility, perfusing human donor kidneys, livers and lungs prior to transplantation. This experience may eventually result in a clinical position which extends beyond the boundaries of your PhD.
We envision your PhD project to start early 2021.