ESR 14: Analysis of thermal enhancement parameters from clinical studies

PhD research

Host: Prof. Oliver Riesterer

Co-PI: Prof. Stephan Scheidegger

Recruiting organisation: Kantonsspital Aarau, Aarau and University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Rämistrasse 100, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland

Duration: 36 months

Background

Within the HYPERBOOST project, an advanced personalised treatment planning platform for hyperthermia (HT) combined with radiotherapy (RT) based on extensive preclinical and clinical data shall be established. To this end, retrospective and prospective patient treatment data including clinical outcomes for patients treated with combined HT and RT will be derived for modelling and evaluation in the proposed hyperthermia treatment planning system – HYPERBOOST.

Approach 

In this position (ESR14), retrospective and prospective clinical studies will be performed. Retrospective data analyses of the six participating European centers will include correlation of hyperthermia parameters along with related clinical data. Prospective clinical trials with protocols for QA, treatment data and tumor response monitoring will be conducted in cooperation with other HT centers as part of the HYPERBOOST network. Exchange of data between the centers and definition of common strategies for analysis and correlation of outcome data is required. In cooperation with the other working groups of the HYPERBOOST collaboration, the findings will be implemented in simulation models for future HT planning systems.

Our research team

The candidate would be working in the Radio-Onkologie-Zentrum KSA-KSB, Kantonsspital Aarau (KSA), Aarau. KSA is presently the only center in Switzerland having both superficial and deep hyperthermia treatment facilities. As one of the largest radiation oncology centers in Switzerland, KSA combines the highest quality standards and the best possible individual care. KSA participates in national and international networks for clinical studies (including SAKK, RTOG/NRG). One of its important clinical activities is the establishment of a national Swiss Hyperthermia Network Tumor Board in 2014 to discuss treatment options of potential HT patients in an inter-disciplinary Tumor Board. Details of the hyperthermia related activities at KSA can be accessed here.  

Your experience

We seek a highly motivated scientist who enjoys an interdisciplinary environment and an interdisciplinary project, able to work independently but also as part of a team. Candidates suitable for this position are medical doctors with technical interests or physicists with focus on medical physics and interest in the combination of radiotherapy and hyperthermia.

  • Have a Master’s degree in medicine (MD), medical physics (MSc) or related fields
  • Excellent higher education record of accomplishment and strong scientific curiosity.
  • Fluent communication, presentation and written English skills

In addition, the following experience would be helpful, but not essential:

  • Experience in working in a radiation oncology department
  • Experience in hyperthermia - either clinical or research in hyperthermia physics
  • Experience with statistical software packages, namely SPSS or R, along with ability to carry out independently statistical computation and interpretation.
  • Scientific track record.
  • German language skills

Our offer

This 3-year PhD position is funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions of the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 955625.  You will be appointed as fulltime PhD for 3 years with University of Zurich. The Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) programme offers a highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment [Living Allowance = €37.320/year (correction factor to be applied per country) + monthly mobility allowance = €600. An additional monthly allowance of €500 is applicable depending on family situation. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences.

The combination of RT and HT is a strategic focus of our radiation oncology center and an employment and career development beyond this PhD is envisaged.

Your application

See recruitment procedure. You can apply using the online application form. For more information about the position you can contact Prof. Dr. med. Oliver Riesterer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +41-62 838 4249.

Name of the organization

Kantonsspital Aarau, Aarau, Switzerland

(Primary work place, Details outlined in the section "Our Research Team").

University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

(For registration of PhD)

ESR 13: Clinical application and evaluation

PhD research

Host: Professor Peter Wust

Recruiting organisation: Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Department of Radiation Oncology, Interdisciplinary high frequency research group, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353 Berlin, Germany

Duration: 36 months

Background

Pre-clinical and clinical studies in different tumors have clearly shown enhancement of radiation response by elevated temperature e.g. radiofrequency hyperthermia. However, open questions remain regarding the applicability and effectiveness radiofrequency hyperthermia in certain body areas e.g. deep seated tumors. Likewise, hyperthermia is competing with other radiosensitizers such as chemotherapy due to the wider availability of the latter such as in cervical cancer. The disadvantage of scarcer availability of hyperthermia systems can only be solved by setting up pan-European multicentric clinical trials. Such trials require sophisticated treatment planning solutions and high level quality assurance to overcome technical limitations of currently available hyperthermia devices.

Approach 

The clinically used combination approach of radiofrequency hyperthermia and radiation therapy to treat cancer should be further optimized and explored. Multicenter Clinical trials will be designed and conducted for different cancer entities and sites including breast cancer, cervical cancer, head and neck cancer, pancreatic cancer and bladder cancer in order to significantly improve the outcome of patients. Quality assurance, temperature delivery and treatment reporting will be harmonized in order to improve comparability of different treatments in different centers and different tumor entities. Novel user friendly and non-time-consuming treatment planning solutions will be developed integrating both temperature and radiation dose distributions. The candidate will work on optimising and unifying the technical/clinical treatment quality, workflow and data reporting in the hospitals participating in Hyperboost, and assist in setting up a European multicentric clinical study in those centers.

Our research team

Our interdisciplinary research team has a strong track record in pre-clinical research, technical development, treatment planning and clinical research regarding the combination of radiation and radiofrequency hyperthermia, with the PI having an established international reputation in this area. The department includes a fully equipped hyperthermia center enabling development and coordination of multi-modality cancer treatments involving radiofrequency hyperthermia and state of the art treatment planning within clinical studies in a variety of clinical settings. Pre-clinical, technical research is also possible as are translational research questions supplementing clinical trials regarding tumor characterization by PET and MR imaging.    

Your experience

  • Candidates should have a Master’s degree in Medicine or Medical Science, or related field. 
  • Willing to undertake clinical research.
  • Strong analytical skills and a quality orientated mindset.
  • Have a strong motivation for research and good communication skills.
  • Excellent higher education track record.
  • Fluent spoken and written English skills.

In addition, the following experience would be helpful, but not essential:

  • Previous research experience.
  • German skills, preferably fluent in speaking/writing.

We seek a highly motivated scientist who enjoys an interdisciplinary environment and an interdisciplinary project, able to work independently but also as part of a team.

Our offer

This 3-year PhD position is funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions of the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 955625.  You will be appointed as fulltime PhD for 3 years with Aarhus University. The Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) programme offers a highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment [Living Allowance = €39.240/year (correction factor to be applied per country) + Monthly mobility allowance = €600. An additional monthly allowance of €500 is applicable depending on family situation. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences. 

Your application

See recruitment procedure. You can apply using the online application form. For more information about the position, you can contact Peter Wust or Pirus Ghadjar (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; phone: +49-30 450 557 033). 

Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Charité is one of the largest university hospitals in Europe. All clinical care, research and teaching is delivered by physicians and researchers of the highest international standard. Having marked its 300-year anniversary in 2010, Charité proudly lays claim to more than half of all German Nobel Prize winners in Physiology or Medicine, e.g. Emil von Behring, Robert Koch, and Paul Ehrlich. Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin represents a medical faculty serving Humboldt Universtität zu Berlin and Freie Universität Berlin. It extends over 4 campuses, has close to 100 Departments and Institutes, making up a total of 17 CharitéCenters with 17,100 staff including its subsidiaries, the annual turnover is €1.8 billion. Charité is internationally renowned for excellence in teaching and training. Innovative capacity and responsible governance for the benefit of patients and society - the central tenets behind all of our research endeavors.

ESR 11: Monitoring immune effects of hyperthermia in multimodal settings with radiotherapy in patients and definition of prognostic and predictive markers

PhD research

Host: Benjamin Frey

Co-PIs: Prof. Oliver Ott, Prof. Rainer Fietkau, Prof. Udo Gaipl

Recruiting organisation: Universitätsklinikum Erlangen (UKER), Department of Radiation Oncology, Universitätsstr. 27, 91054 Erlangen, Germany

Duration: 36 months

Background

Hyperthermia has been shown to affect the immune system, but longitudinal immune data of cancer patients treated with hyperthermia and radiotherapy are missing. However, immune biomarker data should be of great value for prognosis and prediction and for individual therapy adaptions.

Approach 

The doctoral candidate will perform detailed immune phenotyping by multicolor flow cytometry and multiplex ELISA analyses of whole blood of patients treated by hyperthermia and radiotherapy within clinical trials. Immune biomarkers will consecutively correlated with imaging data and bioinformatics approaches for analysis of data from high-throughput experiments or clinical trials will be applied and developed.

Our research team

The highly interdisciplinary research team for this project at the UKER consists of the senior physician for radiooncology and hyperthermia Prof. Ott, the Head of the Department of Radiation Oncology Prof. Fietkau, and of the translational scientists and head of the Radiation Immunobiology and Translational Radiobiology PD Frey and Prof. Gaipl.

Your experience

  • Candidates should have a Master’s degree in bioinformatics, medical informatics, computer science, molecular medicine, biology, mathematics, or in adjacent fields with methodological expertise in data and quality management of clinical studies
  • Experience in programming languages (e.g. Python, Perl, or R)
  • Basic knowledge in immunology and experience with standard laboratory work
  • Working as part of a team
  • Excellent higher education track record and strong scientific curiosity
  • Fluent spoken and written English skills

In addition, the following experience would be helpful, but not essential:

  • Experience in bioinformatics data analysis and scientific software development for high throughput data (next generation sequencing, microarrays, radiomics)
  • Experience in multicolor flow cytometry
  • Medical knowledge

We seek a highly motivated scientist who enjoys an interdisciplinary environment and an interdisciplinary project, able to work independently but also as part of a team.

Our offer

This 3-year PhD position is funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions of the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 955625.  You will be appointed as fulltime PhD for 3 years with the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen. The Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) programme offers a highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment [Living Allowance = €37.320/year (correction factor to be applied per country) + Monthly mobility allowance = €600. An additional monthly allowance of €500 is applicable depending on family situation. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences.

Your application

See recruitment procedure. You can apply using the online application form. For more information about the position you can contact Dr. Benjamin Frey (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; +49 9131 85-44248).

Universitätsklinikum Erlangen

Our Department of Radiation Oncology of the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen offers the entire spectrum of modern radiotherapy and multimodal radio-oncological therapies from one source at the highest level. Clinical aspects of radiation oncology are predominantly examined within phase I, II, and III trials. This takes place on the ward, in the outpatient department, the therapeutics department as well as the treatment planning department and hyperthermia unit.

The main focus of the Radiation Immunobiology Group is set on how ionizing irradiation alone delivered in distinct fractions and especially in combination with further immune modulation such as hyperthermia is capable of inducing systemic and long-lasting anti-tumor immune reactions. Immune biomarkers are followed up by detailed longitudinal immune monitoring to predict radiation-induced and/or –modulated anti-tumor responses, but also to predict side effects of multimodal therapies.

ESR12: Development of Novel Technology for Monitoring Radiofrequency Heating by Non-invasive Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

PhD research

Host: Prof. Dr. Thoralf Niendorf

Recruiting organisation: Max-Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association, Berlin Ultrahigh Field Facility (B.U.F.F.), Robert Rössle Strasse 10, 13125 Berlin,Germany

Duration: 36 months

Background

Temperature is a critical physical parameter that has wide ranging biological implications and that has long been the subject of intense clinical interest. However, to truly define the role of temperature in biological systems and disease, and to use this insight for diagnosis and therapy, we require non-invasive methods to modulate temperature in vivo and characterize its effects. Magnetic resonance (MR) is a diagnostic imaging tool that has proven indispensable in clinical practice. A critical distinction between ultrahigh field MR (UHF-MR) and conventional MR is that UHF-MR uses higher radio frequencies (RF), which permits shorter wavelengths. The short wave length regime offers the unique potential for precisely localized temperature manipulation. The aim is to understand and monitor the thermal properties of healthy and pathological tissues, and to explore the use of heat as a therapeutic tool. To meet this mission the project focuses on the identification and evaluation of MR imaging modalities for monitoring the effect of Hyperthermia (HT) on tumor size, tissue perfusion and tissue hypoxia.

Approach 

In this Ph.D. project we will identify, develop, validate, evaluate and apply MRI modalities for monitoring the effect of the combined radiation therapy (RT) and HT therapy on tumor size, tissue haemodynamics and oxygenation. The focus will be on MR methods for probing perfusion and hypoxia, BOLD imaging, perfusion imaging using exogenous and endogenous contrast mechanisms, diffusion weighted imaging and sodium MRI. Reliable temperature information is crucial for thermal dose and therapy response characterization. Here, our experience obtained from MR thermometry is highly relevant and underscores the need for speed. Therefore this task focuses on advancing MR thermometry (MRTh) including the development of temperature-sensitized MR techniques that provide accelerated and accurate MRTh immune to image distortion. These developments are a prerequisite for thermal dose calibration and dose management. To guide imaging electro-magnetic field simulations will be used to control and steer hyperthermia and to manage the temperature dosage, for this purpose realistic human voxel models including clinical data about the size, geometry and tumor entity will be included in the simulations, the simulations will be validated in experiments to provide a reference for the in vivo studies involving the tumor models. Results will be analysed to establish correlations between treatment outcome and tumor perfusion and hypoxia before and after RT+HT.

Our research team

The Berlin Ultrahigh Field Facility (B.U.F.F) at the MDC is a pioneering imaging facility focusing on the development of new Magnetic Resonance (MR) technology to map anatomy, morphology, microstructure, physiology, metabolism and function to characterize bio-physical and (patho)physiological processes. State-of-the-art MR instruments dedicated to research are available at B.U.F.F. including a family of Siemens 7.0 Tesla, a 3.0 Tesla whole body MR systems and a Bruker 9.4 T small bore animal scanner. The research team at B.U.F.F. is an assembly of biomedical engineers, imaging scientists, physicists and related disciplines. What makes research at B.U.F.F. unique is the collaborative culture and the passion for always asking questions about the molecular and (patho)physiological meaning of the imaging findings. Thinking like a molecule is in our upbringing; translating what we see at the microscopic and mesoscopic level into molecular, biological and clinical terms is in our minds and our hearts. That is why our research is not bound to one organ or disease: we promote strong ties across diseases, modalities and systems, connecting nanoscopic views, length scales, time scales and mesoscopic pictures with mechanistic insights and macroscopic function. Prof. dr Thoralf Niendorf is head of B.U.F.F. and Chair for Experimental Ultrahigh Field MR - Charité University Medicine, Berlin, with 25 years of biomedical imaging/engineering experience in academia and industry and long experience in supervising doctoral/postdoctoral fellows. He has a strong and expertise in hyperthermia, RF technology, EMF simulations and temperature mapping and Thermal Magnetic Resonance. He is speaker of the Helmholtz International Research School on Imaging and Data Science from the Nano to the Meso (iNAMES), a joint collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. Niendorf is entitled to promote PhD students through Charité University Medicine, Berlin, Germany.

Your experience

  • Candidates should have a Master’s degree in physics, electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, computer science, medical science or a related discipline.
  • Strong analytical skills and a quality orientated mindset.
  • Experience in image reconstruction/post-processing and data analysis.
  • Have a strong motivation for research and good communication skills.
  • Excellent higher education track record.
  • Fluent spoken and written English skills.

In addition, the following experience would be helpful, but not essential:

  • Previous research or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) experience.
  • Experience in Pulse Sequence Programming and Numerical Simulations.

We seek a highly motivated scientist who enjoys an interdisciplinary environment and an interdisciplinary project, able to work independently but also as part of a team.

Our offer

This 3-year PhD position is funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions of the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 955625.  You will be appointed as fulltime PhD for 3 years with the Max-Delbrueck Center for Moelcular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association, Berlin, Germany. The Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) programme offers a highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment [Living Allowance = €39.240/year (correction factor to be applied per country) + Monthly mobility allowance = €600. An additional monthly allowance of €500 is applicable depending on family situation. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences. 

Your application

See recruitment procedure. You can apply using the online application form. For more information about the position, you can contact Prof. Dr. Thoralf Niendorf (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; phone: +49 30 9406 4505). 

Max-Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine

The Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) is one of the world’s leading research institutes in life sciences and member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers. MDC has been ranked 14th on the Thomson Reuters list of the world’s best research institutes for molecular biology and genetics. Work of MDC’s ~65 research groups focuses on 3 main topics: 1. Genes, Cells and Cell-based Medicine, 2. Molecular Processes and Therapies, 3. Integrative Biomedicine with biomedical imaging being a cross-cutting area across all three topics. MDC conducts basic biomedical research to understand causes of diseases on the molecular level with a mission to translate discoveries into practical applications, aiming at disease prevention, diagnosis and therapy. MDC is connected with many Berlin/international universities, research institutes, clinics and biotech industry. MDC and Charité, one of Europe’s largest university hospitals, joined forces in a novel Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) to combine translational research and a systems medicine approach bridging the gap between research and clinical users.

ESR 10: Requirements clinical RT+HT treatment data reporting

PhD research

Host: Professor Gerard van Rhoon

Recruiting organization: Erasmus MC Cancer Institute, Dr. Molewaterplein 40, 3015 GD Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Duration: 36 months

Background

Clinical studies by individual institutes indicate that treatment outcome after radiotherapy (RT) plus hyperthermia (HT) shows an independent correlation with the RT and HT dose. Obtaining similar evidence from multi-institutional clinical trials requires uniform guidelines on treatment data reporting. Development and validation of RT and HT dose parameter data set is a challenging, but rewarding, goal considering the large variation in procedures of the involved institutes.

Approach 

The PhD candidate needs to reach consensus on guidelines for combined RT+HT treatment data reporting suitable for multi-center clinical trials. This will require a dual approach of setting up a template for separate data collection of the RT and HT dose parameters as well as treatment outcome parameters. The basic dose parameters will be used to calculate the combined effective RT+HT dose, i.e. the biological equivalent RT-dose, that was delivered during the clinical treatment.

The candidate will start with analyzing all reported dose effect relationships from clinical trials performed using combined treatments of RT+HT in a systematic review of the literature. From the review, relevant clinical parameters will be identified and a comprehensive, complete data reporting template of combined RT+HT will be defined. Validation of the selected dose parameters to predict treatment outcome, using independent clinical data of the involved institutes is a key aspect of the study. Challenges to be addressed concern: different institutes, HT devices, patient documentation platforms, combination of high temporal and 3D spatial resolution of the RT-dose with low, both in time and space, resolution of thermal dose when measured with temperature probes only.

Our research team

Gerard van Rhoon (Erasmus MC – Professor)

Martine Franckena (Erasmus MC – Radiation Oncologist)

Sergio Curto (Erasmus MC – Hyperthermia Physicist)

Maarten Paulides (Erasmus MC and Eindhoven University – Associate Professor)

Your experience

  • Candidates should have a MD-degree with interest and skills in data analysis – collecting or a MSc in Technical Medicine or similar
  • Advanced medical knowledge and experience with MRI imaging
  • Experience in programming and statistical data analyzing methods
  • Strong analytical and mathematical skills
  • Excellent higher education track record and strong scientific curiosity
  • Fluent spoken and written English skills

In addition, the following experience would be helpful, but not essential:

  • Experience in thermal therapies
  • Experience with Radiotherapy procedures
  • Experience writing scientific papers 

We seek a highly motivated scientist who enjoys an multicultural environment and an interdisciplinary project, able to work independently but also as part of a team. As part of the project, the candidate should be willing to work part-time abroad.

Our offer

This 3-year PhD candidate position is funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions of the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 955625.  The successful applicant will be appointed as fulltime PhD candidate for 3 years with Erasmus MC Cancer Institute. The PhD will be awarded by the Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands). The Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) program offers a highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment [Living Allowance = €37.320/year (correction factor to be applied per country) + Monthly mobility allowance = €600. An additional monthly allowance of €500 is applicable depending on family situation. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences.

Your application

See recruitment procedure. You can apply using the online application form. For more information about the position you can contact Prof. G.C. van Rhoon (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)