With recent advances in treatment, patients with primary brain tumors can be more effectively treated through a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. With increasing long-term survival of these patients, it has become increasingly important to safeguard long-term quality of life by limiting treatment-related side-effects.
Radiotherapy in particular has been shown to affect long-term neurocognitive functioning. Novel radiotherapy techniques, such as proton beam therapy, are able to reduce the irradiation of healthy brain tissue, potentially limiting neurocognitive sequelae.
However, the radiation susceptibility of different brain regions as well as their functional importance in brain tumor survivors is still largely unknown today. Therefore, we aim to better characterize and predict neurocognitive decline using Advanced MRI techniques looking at the brain anatomy (T1w, T2 and FLAIR), structural and functional connectivity (multishell diffusion imaging and resting-state functional imaging), metabolites (spectroscopy) and vasculature (SWI, ASL and perfusion) imaging.
The ability to understand and predict neurocognitive decline in both pediatric and adult brain tumor patients, will allow us to optimize treatment and improve patient-tailored support.
You will be working in a multidisciplinary environment that includes the expertise of three expert groups. First, the research group on translational MRI, specialized in the use of advanced neuroimaging techniques such as multishell diffusion weighted and functional MRI. Second, the laboratory of experimental radiotherapy and the Particle Therapy Interuniversity Center Leuven (PARTICLE) (Prof. Dr. Maarten Lambrecht). PARTICLE is the first, and so far only, clinical proton therapy center in Belgium. Third, the researcher will be part of the pediatric oncology unit (Prof. Dr. Sandra Jacobs and Prof. Dr. Jurgen Lemiere). Since 2010, this group has been documenting the neurocognitive trajectories of all pediatric brain tumor patients, using neuropsychological test batteries at regular intervals, building a unique database. Since 2020, this research has been expanded with the use of advanced MRI.
We offer a job position to a postdoctoral researcher who is knowledgeable in the combination of:
Structural, diffusion, and functional MRI
Brain tumor lesions and/or Radiotherapy
Your role is to combine multimodal MRI in adult and pediatric brain tumor treated patients with neurocognitive outcome measures to evaluate the impact of different treatment options on cognitive decline and translate this towards improved treatment strategies for optimal survival and quality of life.
You will supervise at least two PhD students working on this topic.
You will be able to bring guidance in MRI analysis, interpretation of results and in writing manuscripts.
You will aid in setting out new projects within the combined research groups and acquire funding.
It is mandatory to have sufficient experience in the above mentioned 3 domains to apply for this position.
You possess a PhD or are currently in the final stages of finishing your PhD.
You have experience in setting-up, conducting and analyzing advanced neuroimaging data, preferably including studies performed in clinical populations with brain pathology.
You have (partial) knowledge of
Functional and diffusion MRI analysis
Brain lesion segmentation
You have a strong interest to apply state-of-the-art neuroimaging techniques to solve current clinical challenges
You are a team player and like to guide master and PhD students
With your multidisciplinary vision, you will oversee current neuroimaging projects and set-out new projects, including multicenter studies.
You are pro-active in acquiring additional funding in order to expand the current research lines.
(Research) experience in the fields of oncology, radiotherapy or medical physics is considered an advantage
We offer a fulltime postdoc appointment for the first year, which can be renewed for at least 2 additional years based on yearly evaluation.
You will receive a salary according to KU Leuven Barema 44 (https://admin.kuleuven.be/personeel/wedde/graadbarema/ap/barema44.pdf).
You will be part of a unique multidisciplinary team across three research groups and will be part of the Medical Imaging Research Centre (MIRC), located at the heart of the University Hospitals Leuven university hospitals.
For more information on the contents of the function, please contact:
Prof. dr. Stefan Sunaert (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Prof. dr. Sandra Jacobs (email@example.com)
Prof. dr. Maarten Lambrecht (Maarten.firstname.lastname@example.org)
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.