Ultrasound based catheter tracking

Academic environment:
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is one of Europe’s top technological universities, situated in the heart of one of Europe’s largest high-tech innovation ecosystems, regularly referred to as Brainport. Research at TU/e is characterized by a combination of academic excellence and a strong real-world impact. For healthcare research, this impact is often obtained via close collaboration with high-tech industries and key clinical centers.

In the Healthcare field, TU/e has recently started a large-scale collaborative research program with Philips and leading clinical partners, aiming at improving the quality of care while lowering costs. The program focuses in part on ultrasound monitoring and guidance, with the Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven serving as the clinical partner. For this focus area, a multidisciplinary team of 9 PhD students is to be appointed, supervised by a multidisciplinary team of clinical, industrial and academic experts. To facilitate intensive multidisciplinary collaboration, students will be embedded for a part of their time at Philips Research.

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Research focus:
The vacant PhD project is in the field of minimally invasive interventional imaging and instrument detection/positioning. More specifically, the image-based finding and positioning of catheters is highly relevant for successful interventions. During key-hole surgery, the line of sight between the physician and his tools is usually obstructed. Therefore, imaging devices are required to provide the physician with visual information on how his surgical tools, such as catheters, within the patient are positioned. During minimally invasive interventions such as cardiac catheter procedures for example, X-ray visualization has an important role. However, there is a trend towards less X-ray uses, due to the negative dose-effect to patient and physician. Ultrasound imaging has increased popularity to determine the position of cardiac catheters. Additionally 3D-Utrasound might provide the possibility to determine the orientation of the cardiac catheters which is very difficult and time consuming to determine from a sequence of X-ray projections. The growing popularity of using ultrasound imaging is two-fold. First, it provides immediate visual feedback and second, critical radiation for the patient is absent.

Vacancy:
For X-ray, initial algorithms have been developed that model and track catheters in 3D with mm-accuracy, derived from a set of visual projections acquired from 5-10 projections with a view separation of 1.7°, which involves only limited motion of the C-arm X-ray system. Using feature points and a matching algorithm, the catheter can be reconstructed in a 3D volume which can be matched to a predicted curvilinear model for rigid objects. However, a number of important research points have to be addressed in detail, in order to come to a transition from X-ray sensing to Ultrasound sensing regarding catheter tracking in a robust and fast manner. The candidate will work on several topics such as: (1) Motion models for tracking, (2) Ultrasound pulse sequencing and visualization, (3) Catheter modeling, (4) Object motion during clinical application, (5) Real-time operation, (6) Clinical validation and benchmarking.

Vacancy:
For X-ray, initial algorithms have been developed that model and track catheters in 3D with mm-accuracy, derived from a set of visual projections acquired from 5-10 projections with a view separation of 1.7°, which involves only limited motion of the C-arm X-ray system. Using feature points and a matching algorithm, the catheter can be reconstructed in a 3D volume which can be matched to a predicted curvilinear model for rigid objects. However, a number of important research points have to be addressed in detail, in order to come to a transition from X-ray sensing to Ultrasound sensing regarding catheter tracking in a robust and fast manner. The candidate will work on several topics such as: (1) Motion models for tracking, (2) Ultrasound pulse sequencing and visualization, (3) Catheter modeling, (4) Object motion during clinical application, (5) Real-time operation, (6) Clinical validation and benchmarking.

Candidate profile:
We are looking for candidates who:
- have a strong MSc degree in Electrical Engineering, Physics, or a related discipline;
- have a strong background in signal modeling and analysis, preferably in a biomedical context;
- preferably have some background in ultrasound imaging;
- can think out of the box, distinguish main lines from details, and provide structure to their work;
- have excellent multidisciplinary team working and communication skills.

Contact:
The PhD candidate should send a CV and corresponding motivation letter in pdf file format to Mrs. Tanja van Waterschoot at Eindhoven University of Technology,
Email: T.A.M.v.Waterschoot@tue.nl

Recruitment process:
After a pre-selection process based on the CV, suitable PhD candidates are invited for face-to-face recruitment- and business interviews. Final deadline: 16 August, 2016.