PhD candidate (4 years) Surgical navigation and optical tissue characterization in robotic prostate surgery

PhD candidate (4 years) Surgical navigation and optical tissue characterization in robotic prostate surgery

Published Deadline Location
10 May 8 Jul Amsterdam

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Job description

The most beneficial outcome for a patient after robot-assisted surgery for prostate cancer is when the tumor is resected entirely and healthy tissue structures are not damaged. However, it can be very challenging for a surgeon to determine where to cut during surgery.

In this project, we want to optimize the surgical treatment of prostate cancer patients by implementing surgical navigation and optical tissue characterization during these robot-assisted surgeries. Surgical navigation uses the pre-operative imaging of the patient to make a model including the prostate and vital structures as well as the tumor. This model can be used as a roadmap by the surgeon to localize the tumor. Subsequently, in the area close to the tumor optical tissue characterization can be used to precisely determine which tissue is tumorous and should be removed. Optical tissue characterization is based on light-tissue interactions. These interactions depend on characteristics of the tissue such as the composition and morphology. Since healthy tissue and tumor tissue have different characteristics, the optical measurements can help the surgeon with performing more precise surgery.

Ultimately, employing surgical navigation and optical tissue characterization during surgery should optimize the outcome of robot-assisted prostate surgery which will lead to a better outcome for the patient.

Together with a team of clinicians, technicians, and other researchers you will work on integrating technologies and implementing them during robot-assisted prostate surgeries. We are looking for a highly motivated team player that wants to improve the surgical treatment of prostate cancer. In this versatile project, you will be the bridge between research and clinical practice by translating different technologies from bench to bedside. 

You will be part of a research group within the Surgical Oncology division of the Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek Hospital. This research group includes many different researchers with heterogeneous backgrounds and skillsets. Furthermore, there are strong collaborations between this research group and technical universities, university hospitals, and the medical industry.


The Netherlands Cancer Institute


We seek the following:

  • A master's degree in technical medicine, (biomedical) engineering, or a similar discipline
  • A strong interest in translating technology into medical practice
  • Fluent (or native) skill level in English and Dutch
  • Good cross-disciplinary collaborative and communication skills
  • Proficiency in bioinformatics programming languages (e.g. Matlab, Python)

Nice to have:

  • Experience in statistics and machine learning
  • Knowledge in clinical practice and medical devices

The NKI values diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive work environment that stimulates the best in each individual. Applications of all individuals are welcomed regardless of age, ancestry, religion, disability, distance from the labor market, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

You will join a dynamic international research group. You will collaborate with scientists and clinicians with expertise in different disciplines (medical and technical). You will be appointed at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam and have the opportunity to follow high-quality courses offered by the NKI PhD program. 

Your temporary employment will be for a period of 4 years. The gross salary per month will range from € 2.972,- to € 3.620,- according to the standard PhD scales. The terms of employment will be in accordance with the CAO Ziekenhuizen (Collective Labour Agreement for Hospitals). In addition you will receive a fixed end-of-year bonus in December (8,33%) and in May you will receive 8,33% holiday pay. 

Amsterdam is a stunning city with many cultural amenities. The institute is located within a 20-minute tram or bicycle ride from the center of Amsterdam and within 20 minutes from Schiphol airport by car, bus or bicycle.


  • PhD; Research, development, innovation; Technical and laboratory
  • Engineering; Health; Natural sciences
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • €2972—€3620 per month
  • University graduate
  • AT NK 20220510


The Netherlands Cancer Institute

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Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX, Amsterdam

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