ESR 9: Quality Assurance protocols for advanced level hyperthermia systems

PhD research

Host: Associate Professor Hana Dobsicek Trefna

Recruiting organisation: Chalmers University of Technology, Dept. Electrical Engineering, Hörsalsvägen 11, 412 96 Göteborg. Sweden

Duration: 48 months

Background

Clinical implementation of radiotherapy (RT) + hyperthermia (HT) planning requires tight quality assurance protocols to ensure that actual HT system settings match the planning prescription. Inaccuracies in amplitude and phase settings at the antenna end, effects of cross-talk between antennas, water bolus shape or imprecision in patient positioning can diminish the advantage of using the treatment planning tools and lead to side effects such as skin burns. A hyperthermia system developer must therefore understand all potential pitfalls to be able to diminish their impact on the applicator performance. Further, treatment protocols must incorporate safeguards to ensure that the equipment used is capable of achieving adequate temperatures in the treated region, as well as ensure that a sufficiently large amount of thermometry data is available to assess the tumor temperature distribution to be able to ensure high-quality treatments.

Approach 

Deep heating penetration in the body is achieved by using constructive wave interference from a large number of antennas organized in multiple rings around the patient. The heat effect is developed in the tumor by the transmission of microwaves which are adjusted in time, frequency and amplitude to form a focus spot inside the tumor. Your part of the project will be oriented towards electromagnetic modeling of arrays antennas and system level frontend analysis (including the power amplification stage and effects of cross-talk between multiple transmitter channels), robust manufacturing, and on performing measurements to verify the system level accuracy and focus ability. The project also involves integration of the hardware with the focusing algorithms and to optimize its focusing ability and assess and optimize the system level performance in the laboratory and later in the clinical environment. The characterization of the applicators will be carried out on specifically developed dedicated phantoms mimicking realistic patient anatomies and will include both invasive and non-invasive thermometry and online dosimetry.

Our research team

The focus of our Biomedical Electromagnetic research group at the department of Electrical Engineering is to develop new and more effective medical methods and systems for diagnostics and treatment. Microwave hyperthermia, stroke diagnostics, breast cancer detection are a few examples. The main activity in the development towards these applications involves mainly signal processing methods, antenna systems design and design of measurement hardware. Construction of complete prototype systems for clinical tests is a key goal in all projects and happens in close collaboration with Sahlgrenska University hospital.

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. You should have

  • a Master’s i.e., a MsC degree or equivalent in a relevant electrical engineering, applied physics or biomedical engineering
  • a background in electromagnetics, mathematical modeling of multiphysics and biological systems, electromagnetical design of antennas
  • hands on experience as a user of microwave systems.
  • advanced skills in programming languages like MATLAB and C/C++
  • Strong analytical skills and a quality orientated mindset.
  • Have a strong motivation for research and good communication skills.
  • Fluent spoken and written English skills.

In addition, we consider the following experience as a merit:

  • previous research or clinical experience.
  • knowledge of commercial electromagnetics modeling software, like CST/HFSS/Sim4Life

Besides good subject knowledge, emphasis will be on creative thinking, motivation, ability to cooperate, initiative to work independently 

Our offer

This 4-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 4+X years with Chalmers University of Technology. 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 Hana Dobsicek Trefna (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., phone: +46-31 772 5052). 

Chalmers University of Technology

Chalmers University of Technology conducts research and education in engineering sciences, architecture, technology-related mathematical sciences, natural and nautical sciences, working in close collaboration with industry and society. The strategy for scientific excellence focuses on our six Areas of Advance; Energy, Health Engineering, Information and Communication Technology, Materials Science, Production and Transport. The aim is to make an active contribution to a sustainable future using the basic sciences as a foundation and innovation and entrepreneurship as the central driving forces. Chalmers has around 11,000 students and 3,000 employees. New knowledge and improved technology have characterised Chalmers since its foundation in 1829, completely in accordance with the will of William Chalmers and his motto: Avancez!

At the Department of Electrical Engineering, we conduct internationally renowned research in biomedical engineering, antenna systems, signal processing, image analysis, automatic control, automation, mechatronics, and communication systems. We offer a dynamic and international research environment with about 200 employees from more than 20 countries, and with extensive national and international research collaborations with academia, industry and society. The department provides more than 70 courses, of which most are included in the Master’s Programs ”Biomedical Engineering”, ”Systems, Control and Mechatronics”, and ”Communication Engineering”.