PhD Position in Signal Processing for Fetal-Maternal Cardiovascular Coupling

PhD Position in Signal Processing for Fetal-Maternal Cardiovascular Coupling

Published Deadline Location
25 Mar 30 Apr Eindhoven

Job description

Are you interested in developing fundamental knowledge in signal processing to push the frontiers of pregnancy monitoring? Do you enjoy technical challenges connected to real clinical and industrial environment? This stimulating PhD position might be the right one for you!

The Biomedical Diagnostic (BM/d) Lab at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is seeking an outstanding PhD candidate to work in the field of pregnancy monitoring with focus on the coupling between mother and fetus cardiovascular systems and the mediating role of the uterus and placenta. The project is embedded within the NWO-OTP project MAPPING in tight collaboration with the respected expert center Máxima Medial Center of Veldhoven, and international Dutch companies such as Philips and Medsim.

Project description

The 'big four' pregnancy pathologies (i.e., fetal growth restriction, premature birth, congenital disease, and asphyxia) have an incidence of 17-24%, resulting yearly in 2.6 million stillbirths and 303,000 maternal deaths globally. The detection of these pathologies is often late because the implementation of early detection strategies is currently limited. There is established evidence that pathologies and stillbirths are associated with an abnormal development of the fetal cardiovascular system (fCVS) and placenta as well as a maladaptation to gestation of the maternal cardiovascular system (mCVS) and the uterus. However, how these abnormal mechanisms result in pregnancy-related cardiovascular complications has not been fully investigated yet. Nevertheless, the (patho)physiological interaction among these systems might be the key to unravel the mechanisms responsible for pregnancy pathologies. The MAPPING project envisions a comprehensive investigation of the coupling between mCVS and fCVS, as mediated by the uterus and placenta, both in healthy and pathological pregnancies, with the final aim of improving pregnancy outcome. MAPPING will support the development of novel, diagnostic tools for timely diagnosis and, ultimately, prediction of pregnancy complications.

The PhD candidate will conduct a comprehensive investigation into the coupling between the maternal and fetal cardiovascular systems during pregnancy. To achieve this, the candidate will employ synchronized multimodal data, incorporating traditional methods like color Doppler ultrasound and innovative electrophysiological measurements such as maternal and fetal electrocardiography and electrohysterography. The investigation will span different gestational ages and consider varying health statuses.

The acquired multimodal signals will be processed for extraction of meaningful features which will establish the basis for developing comprehensive models of the coupling using a data-driven approach. The deviation between healthy and pathological pregnancies will be detected through machine learning tools. These tools will be integrated into a clinical decision support system, evaluated through interactions with clinicians for diagnosing and predicting pregnancy complications. The candidate will closely work with our industrial partners, as Philips and Medsim, to support a possible translation of the project outcomes into a commercial product.

Your tasks will be:
  • To define the clinical protocol for the electrophysiological and ultrasound data acquisition, being responsible for the study design in collaboration with our clinical partner. In particular, the candidate will define the measurement setup.
  • To design and implement the algorithms for the extraction and selection of ultrasound and electrophysiological features to describe the behavior and characteristics of the cardiovascular system.  
  • To develop dedicated mathematical models to describe the coupling between the maternal and fetal cardiovascular systems. The candidate will also investigate how these relations are mediated by the uterus and placenta throughout different phases of pregnancy and according to the health status. The obtained models will be translated into coupling maps.
  • To identify statistical tools best suited to highlight changes in coupling maps as pregnancy progresses over time and between healthy and pathological pregnancies.
  • To develop machine-learning classifiers to automatically discern between healthy and pathological pregnancies.

Academic and Research Environment:

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is one of Europe's top technological universities, situated in the heart of one of Europe's largest high-tech innovation ecosystems. Research at TU/e is characterized by a combination of academic excellence and a strong real-world impact. This impact is pursued via close collaboration with high-tech industries and clinical partners.

Research related to this position will be carried out at the Biomedical Diagnostics (BM/d) lab of the Signal Processing Systems (SPS) group, which is part of the Electrical Engineering department. The BM/d lab, chaired by Prof. Mischi, has a strong track record in electrophysiological signal processing, physiological modelling, and quantitative analysis of biosignals, ranging from ultrasound and MRI to electrophysiology. More specifically for this project, the BM/d lab has also a long tradition in pregnancy monitoring. For more information, see this link.

The candidate will work with various members of the SPS group. Furthermore, the candidate will have the opportunity to work closely with a clinical PhD and collaborate with all the partners of the MAPPING project, particularly the Máxima Medical Center and Philips, both located at close distance.

Specifications

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

Requirements

We are looking for candidates that match the following profile:
  • Master's degree in Electrical/Biomedical Engineering, Applied Physics, or related disciplines with excellent grades.
  • Excellent knowledge of signal processing and systems.
  • Proven programming skills (e.g., in Matlab, Python, C, C++).
  • Team player attitude, interested in collaborating with different teams.
  • High motivation and creativity.
  • Good communication and organization skills.
  • Excellent English language skills (writing and presenting).

Additional qualifications:
  • Knowledge of electrophysiological signal processing and modeling.

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:
  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Additional information

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. 

Curious to hear more about what it's like as a PhD candidate at TU/e? Please view the video.

Information

For more information about the project and any informal enquiries, please contact prof. M. Mischi (m.mischi@tue.nl) or dr. E. Peri (e.peri@tue.nl) or dr. A. Galli (a.galli@tue.nl).

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact HR Services, email HRServices.Flux@tue.nl.

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page.

Application

We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button.
The application should include:
  • A cover letter explaining your motivation and suitability for the position.
  • A detailed Curriculum Vitae (including English proficiency level, nationality, VISA requirements, date of birth as well as programming skills, experience overview, publication list (if any), and key achievements in research project(s)).
  • Contact information of two academic references.
  • Copies of diplomas with course grades.

All these documents are mandatory. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Candidates will be selected based on graduation mark and proficiency at university including consideration of the reputation of the university, relevant experience and skills, writing skills and publications, work experience as well as performance in interviews.

Application deadline: 30/04/2024.

Please keep in mind; you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each.

Specifications

  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • V36.7361

Employer

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

Learn more about this employer

Location

De Rondom 70, 5612 AP, Eindhoven

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 30 Apr 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).