Your challenge

Cerebrovascular pathology is a major contributor to dementia, either alone or in combination with Alzheimer’s Disease. A major challenge in dementia research is the limited knowledge about how cerebrovascular pathology contributes to cognitive impairment in individual patients, e.g. we see patients with extensive white matter lesions on MRI who do present with dementia, whereas other patients with similar pathology have no cognitive complaints. Current cerebrovascular health biomarkers – e.g. FLAIR white matter hyperintensities – only demonstrate the spatial extent of vascular damage; not its severity or impact. For gaining more insight, a direct and dynamic marker is needed to detect the compromise of cerebrovascular health at an earlier stage and to closely monitor treatment effects. Arterial Spin Labeling (ASL) provides such a dynamic MRI measurement by monitoring the vascular and metabolic brain health. In this project, ASL scans will be analyzed using machine learning to develop a novel biomarker of cerebrovascular health, called the “cerebrovascular age”.

This project expands on the work of the ExploreASL team focusing on the standardized analysis of multi-center ASL perfusion MRI data (see and HERE). Several large datasets – e.g. from the University of Ghent, University College of London, and the University of Singapore – are readily available to allow the immediate start of your work. You will closely collaborate with international experts both from the image analysis and clinical/physiological fields to guarantee that your scientific contributions have merit for clinical practice.

Your main duties and responsibilities will include:

  • Process and pool multiple ASL datasets into an ASL-Based Brain Atlas (ABBA);
  • Create a cerebrovascular age classifier to optimally predict the chronological age in healthy volunteers from ASL images;
  • Investigate the contributions from cardiovascular, and large and small vessel risk factors to the cerebrovascular age, as well as its effects on cognition;
  • Investigate whether the cerebrovascular age and its associations differ between males and females, and between ethnicities with different cardiovascular risk factors;
  • Work together in a team of scientists and clinicians to make your research relevant to patients/doctors, and meaningful for clinical practice;
  • Writing scientific papers and a thesis about your findings.

Your profile

You are a highly motivated and enthusiastic Ph.D. student with a strong interest (and experience) in neuroimaging and brain diseases. You are proactive and precise, result-oriented, and care about the quality of your work, have excellent (written) English communication skills, and work optimally when collaborating with others. You like to solve scientific problems and have intrinsic motivation and the capacity to continuously improve yourself.

In addition, you meet the following requirements and experience:

  • A master degree in a relevant field (e.g., technical medicine, medicine, medical physics, biomedical engineering, neuropsychology, neuroscience);
  • Excellent scientific writing skills;
  • Experience with programming, and/or advanced statistics, and/or image processing.

The work requires collaboration with people from multiple disciplines and both working (experience) within the medical and technical fields.

Your work environment

  • You will be working in the radiology department of Amsterdam UMC location VUmc, which offers a dynamic environment where research and clinical practice are closely connected;
  • You will work in a multidisciplinary team with multiple Ph.D. students and supervisors, including neuroradiologists, neuropsychologists, and experts in medical image analyses;
  • You will closely collaborate with the Alzheimer Center Amsterdam for the clinical and neuropsychological interpretation;
  • You will be in close contact with international members of the ExploreASL team and the project collaborators;
  • If circumstances dictate so, you will have the possibility to work remotely.

Working at Amsterdam UMC, VUmc location means working in an inspiring and professional environment where development is encouraged in every respect. We offer you ample opportunity for development, deepening and broadening, additional training, and a place to grow!

We offer

Salary Scale PHD: 2495 tot 3196 euro gross when employed full-time (depending on qualifications and experience).

In addition we offer:
– Additional benefits include an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday pay.
– Your pension premium will be paid by Amsterdam UMC for 2/3.
– We reimburse 75% of your OV travel costs (commuting costs).

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 4 years. We offer an initial contract for 12 months that can be extended (after evaluation) for another 36 months.

For more information about our employment conditions, please visit our website.
For Dutch citizens it is mandatory to provide a VOG (a declaration of good behaviour).

Additional information

The preferred starting date for this position is December 2020 but this is negotiable. The interviews will probably be held on early-mid October 2020.

Employment agencies are asked not to use this vacancy. If you want to learn more about ASL perfusion MRI and the background of this vacancy, you can follow the lecture HERE.

Information and application

Don’t hesitate to call us!
If you’re interested about this position, you can contact dr. Henk-Jan Mutsaerts, via telephone number +31 6 4390 8284.
If you need more information about the application procedure, contact Brend de Jong, corporate recruiter at 020 444 8704.

You can apply till 7 October 2020 by using the apply button.

Acquisition based on this vacancy is not appreciated.