ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE DETECTION USING MULTIMODAL IMAGING OF THE RETINA (ADMIRE).

14 December 2020

Get in touch!

Interested?

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Ingeborg Stalmans or Mrs. Eirini Christinaki, mail: ingeborg.stalmans@mac.com and eirini.christinaki@kuleuven.beYou can apply for this job no later than August 31, 2021 via the online application tool

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Ref. BAP-2020-927

Apply before 08 February 2021

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).

Project

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.

Profile

Essential knowledge, skills, and experience required:

  • Master in Biomedical Sciences, Bio-engineering, Medicine or equivalent.
  • Strong interest in neurobiology/ophthalmology.
  • Clinical background or experience with experimental lab work
  • Excellent knowledge of the English language, both spoken and written, is required.
  • Dutch speaker, or willing to learn Dutch.
  • A curious and creative mind set,eager to learn.
  • Perseverant with good problem-solving skills.
  • Ambitious, ability to take ownership of the project and adhere to the milestones.
  • Willingness to work in an interdisciplinary team.
Offer
  • A full-time appointment (100%) as a PhD for a period of 3 or 4 years. At least one year will be done in Melbourne at the University of Melbourne.
  • Double PhD Degree (KU Leuven AND University of Melbourne)
  • Affiliation to the ADMIRE taskforce and Mission Lucidity consortium, with world-renowned experts in neurodegeneration and an extensive international network.
  • The possibility to participate and present your research at national and international conferences.