PhD Position in Ultrasound Imaging for Surgical Guidance

Catholic University of Leuven Department of Cardiovascular Sciences

About the supervising lab and the university: The research will be conducted at the Lab on Cardiovascular Imaging & Dynamics is part of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences of the University of Leuven ( It is embedded within the Medical Imaging Research Center (MIRC;, a multi-disciplinary research institute with approximately 100 researchers working on fundamental and translational research in the area of medical imaging and image processing. The MIRC is located on the campus of the university hospital Gasthuisberg ( where researchers and clinicians work in close cooperation. The research will also be conducted in collaboration with the imec Image Processing and Interpretation Lab (IPI) at Ghent University ( As a core research group of the imec international research and development organization (, IPI consists of 40 researchers and conducts state of the art research in the field of digital image and video processing for a wide range of applications. IPI provides ample opportunity for researchers to take initiative in their work and to develop their professional networks.



The scaphoid bone is the most frequently fractured bone in the wrist, accounting for around 90% of all carpal fractures.These fractures commonly occur in young adults as a result of falling onto an outstretched hand. Incidence rates for scaphoid fractures have been reported to be between 12-29 cases per 100,000 people per year.

Scaphoid fractures are routinely fixated by drilling into the fractured scaphoid and inserting a screw that binds the fractured pieces of the bone together. This procedure, known as Percutaneous Scaphoid Fixation (PSF), is a minimally-invasive procedure where guidance of the screw placement is aided by the use of fluoroscopy (Figure). The minimally-invasive nature of PSF helps to reduce trauma to the joint, speeds recovery time, and decreases the chances of infection. However, the PSF procedure is a challenging one for surgeons as they do not have a full three-dimensional (3D) view of the complex wrist anatomy. While fluoroscopy aids in the visualization of this anatomy, the resulting fluoroscopic images provide only a two-dimensional (2D) view, leaving the surgeon with the challenging task of mapping between the image information and the patient themselves. Fluoroscopy also has the negative side effect of exposing both the patient and the surgeon to ionizing radiation.


The aim of this PhD project is to develop novel ultrasound methodologies that enable imaging of the scaphoid (or at least determine its pose) intra-operatively using dedicated ultrasound transducers that are compatible with the surgical scene. The developed methodology will extensively be validated in experimental setups (both in-vitro and in-vivo).


The PhD project is part of a larger research effort (called “HoloWrist”) which is a joint effort with Imec, Ghent University, and the University of Antwerp hospital. The gathered ultrasound information on the scaphoid will be merged with intra-operative optical tracking information of the patient’s hand and the surgical instruments in order to enable an augmented reality view of the scaphoid’s location and pose during the intervention. If successful, the use of ionizing radiation during the surgery could be heavily reduced or possibly completely be omitted.


You have a Master's degree in Physics, Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering or Electrical Engineering
You are familiar with ultrasound physics, ultrasound imaging and its applications
You have good programming skills in Matlab and/or in C/C++
You are able to build experimental setups and work with lab infrastructure
You are fluent in oral and written English
You are enthusiastic and result oriented
You can work independently with a critical mind set
You have strong team-player skills


We offer a PhD position for 4 years with a market conform wage in a large, multidisciplinary research center in the heart of Europe, at a highly-ranked university. The position is immediately available and is co-supervised by experts in the field of ultrasound imaging and image-guided interventions. Moreover, throughout the project there will be a tight and close interaction to the surgeons.


Please send your CV, motivation letter, a listof followed courses (incl. grades), and 2 recommendation letters to Prof. Dr.Jan D’hooge by Email (

You can apply for this job no later than March 01, 2021 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: March 1, 2021
  • Tags: Bio-ingenieurswetenschappen