For more information please contact Prof. dr. Ingeborg Stalmans or Mrs. Eirini Christinaki, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.comYou can apply for this job no later than August 31, 2021 via the online application tool
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Joint PhD mandate under supervision of Prof. Ingeborg Stalmans (Research Group Ophthalmology, Department of Neurosciences, KU Leuven/UZ Leuven), Prof. Rik Vandenberghe (Laboratory for Cognitive Neurology, KU Leuven/ UZ Leuven), Prof. Lieve Moons and Dr. Lies De Groef (Neural Circuit Development and Regeneration Research Group, KU Leuven), Prof. Peter Van Wijngaarden (Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne) and other academic as well as industrial ADMIRE taskforce members (Vito, VIB and Imec).
The eye offers a unique window to the brain and its circulation as the retina is embryologically derived from the diencephalon and can be easily reached by visible light. Changes in the retinal structure and function have been linked to several cerebral and cardiovascular diseases, even in a pre-clinical stage. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia worldwide and characterized by accumulation of amyloid-protein in the cerebral cortex. Spectroscopic quantification of soluble amyloid-oligomers in the retina seems a promising non-invasive biomarker for AD that could be used in animal research as well as to detect patients in a pre-clinical stadium, enabling proper screening, diagnostics, follow-up and therapeutical studies. Unlike all the techniques that have been previously used to demonstrate in vivo amyloid load, our technique acquires a hyperspectral signature of the retina in an affordable, fast and non-invasive method by using a hyperspectral snapshot image sensor.
This project aims to determine the specificity of the hyperspectral signal for soluble beta-amyloid in a preclinical setting, to validate our clinical set-up and to develop an AD prediction/staging algorithm, via machine learning approaches and longitudinal follow-up of phenotyped patients.
Not only multimodal data input from hyperspectral imaging will be relied on, but also input from various existing and high-end technologies that have been well-established in ophthalmological practice will be used (Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), OCT-Angiography, Dynamic Vessel Analysis, high resolution retinal photography, etc).
The function is ambitious and comes with public appeal: tightening contacts with consortium members, management of international appeal, collaboration with patient organizations and decision making about future strategy.
Essential knowledge, skills, and experience required: