PhD position Photon Counting CT scan to rule out malignancy in breast calcifica

PhD position Photon Counting CT scan to rule out malignancy in breast calcifica

Published Deadline Location
18 Mar 15 Apr Groningen

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Job description

On mammography approximately 67% of tumors will be non-palpable and in these approximately 55%, radio-opaque breast calcifications are present, which can either be malignant or benign. Since the malignancy rate varies between 6 and 82% depending on the appearance on mammography, all women should undergo invasive stereotactic vacuum-assisted biopsy. However, because 70-80% of calcifications are histologically benign, most women will undergo unnecessary invasive diagnostic work-up, which is associated with psychological stress and reduced quality of life. Absence of contrast enhancement on a breast MRI can safely rule out malignancy in mammographically detected breast calcifications. However, breast MRI is relatively expensive, of limited availability, long scan time, not suitable (in case of metal implants or claustrophobia) and comfortable for all women. The recently developed dedicated breast CT is still under clinical investigation, and its potential use has not yet been established. A whole-body photon counting CT (PCCT) with high spatial resolution in combination with iodine contrast could be of added value in the assessment of malignant breast calcifications. Therefore, the purpose of this proposal is to investigate whether PCCT can safely rule out malignancy, avoid unnecessary invasive procedures, and psychological distress in women with calcifications on mammography. To achieve this goal the following work packages are proposed: i) development of a PCCT scan protocol for breast imaging: a phantom study, ii) optimization of PCCT scanprotocol and development of a PCCT reader assessment protocol for breast imaging: in-vitro study, iii) optimization of PCCT scanprotocol a reader assessment protocol for breast imaging: in-vivo study.

Job description
You will have the following main responsibilities and tasks:
- To develop a PCCT scan protocol for breast imaging based on literature;
- With the use of a breast phantom optimization of the PCCT protocol and development of new acquisition and reconstruction parameters for improvement of imaging quality and doses level;
- To analyze the PCCT scan protocol in breast specimens;
- To analyze calcifications in breast specimens on PCCT images and thereby developing a reader assessment protocol for breast calcifications on PCCT images;
- To identify and including patients for the analyzation of breast calcifications by using PCCT scan;
- To assess breast calcifications on PCCT images in comparison with mammography by using reader assessment protocol;
- To compare the outcome of PCCT images with the MRI images and to determine if PCCT can safely rule out malignancy;
- Cooperation with specialists on developing PCCT protocol and data analysis approaches of PCCT imaging;
- Writing of original research articles and reviews about the topic.


University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG)


- MSc degree in Medicine, Technical Medicine or Biomedical Engineering;
- Experience in clinical care or research;
- Hands-on mentality;
- Being able to work with excellent organisational skills in a multidisciplinary environment, have good communicative skills with co-workers and patients;
- Because the patients that will participate in this research are marely Dutch, it is required that you are able to speak/communicate near-native Dutch.

The UMCG has a preventive Hepatitis B policy. If required for the position, the UMCG can provide the vaccination.
In case of specific professions a ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’ is required.

Conditions of employment

The successful candidate will be able to develop his or her research skills within highly experienced and internationally recognized research groups and in addition will receive education within institute research schools.
A four years fulltime (36 hours) PhD position with a salary of € 2.901,- gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of € 3.677,- gross per month in the last (fourth) year (scale PhD). The estimated startdate will be preferable 1st of June. In addition, the UMCG will offer you 8% holiday pay, and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. The conditions of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Medical Centres (CAO-UMC).



You will be appointed at the department of Radiology, part of the Medical Imaging Center of the University Medical Center Groningen. All the work will be performed at the UMCG. Close collaboration is envisioned with the Departments of Pathology, Surgery and Epidemiology and Siemens Healthineers.
The University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) is one of the largest hospitals in the Netherlands and the largest employer in the Northern Netherlands. In addition to providing clinical care, there is much focus on the core research, training and education. At least as important as a pleasant working environment is a nice living environment. Groningen is a thriving university city set in quiet, spacious surroundings.


  • PhD; Research, development, innovation
  • Health
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • max. €2901 per month
  • University graduate
  • 240265


University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG)

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Hanzeplein 1, 9713 GZ, Groningen

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