PhD scholarship in Design of Medico-Technical Analysis Systems for Chronic Sleep/Brain Disorders

DTU Electrical Eng
Friday 17 Mar 17

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The Biomedical Engineering group at the Department of Electrical Engineering invites applicants for a 3-year PhD in sleep analytics using advanced biomedical signal processing and machine learning of nocturnal polysomnography (PSG) signals and other data. 18 months will be spent at DTU in Denmark, and 18 months at Stanford University in California, USA. The PhD is part of a long-standing collaboration between these universities on this topic. Professors with experience in technical science and sleep medicine will supervise the student in both locations.

Chronic sleep disorders cause significant personal, familiar, health and societal consequences. This is particular true for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which affects more than 4% of the population. Sleep apnea is strongly associated with other chronic disease like obesity, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and which often are unrecognized, causes high risk of cardio and cerebrovascular (CVD) consequences in term of morbidity and mortality, familiar and societal consequences. OSA is treatable with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), surgery and life style intervention.

Clinical practice for diagnosis is very time consuming, based on among other things PSG recordings followed by extensive manual analysis. Overall we aim at developing simpler, and more efficient automatic screening and diagnostic systems, which improve diagnosis of sleep/brain disorders.

Responsibilities and tasks
The purpose of the PhD project is to design and implement a reproducible and well-documented analytical pipeline for the biomedical analysis and automatic interpretation of large samples of PSG sleep studies, and clinical marker data. In the process, the candidate will discover new patterns within sleep that are predictive of human health, sleep disorders, and brain diseases. The PhD student will work in a highly collaborative environment, carry out data analysis and integration, and apply best-in-class algorithms – and develop new algorithms – that directly address the motivating biological questions. Collaborations across other labs and across departments are encouraged.  

The successful candidate must be able to learn and work independently, yet collaborate effectively with co-workers.

Qualifications
Candidates should have a MSc in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the MSc in engineering.

Candidates with the following profile will be preferred: 

  • MSc in biomedical/electrical engineering, biomedical data science or equivalent qualification with preferably publication record
  • Strong knowledge and experience of advanced biomedical signal processing methods and algorithms
  • Excellent command of English (written and spoken) as well as technical writing.
  • An understanding of advanced mathematical & statistical principles behind current best practices in high-throughput data analysis.
  • Strong experience in the use of a high-level programming language such as MATLAB, C, C++, r for complex signal/data analysis.
  • Preferably familiarity with high performance computing and computing clusters.
  • Ability and willingness to mentor junior students.
  • Ability to provide advice to lab members on appropriate data analysis approaches.
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively in complex organizations (technical/medical), and to handle several concurrent projects.
  • Exceptionally strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent data presentation and visualization skills.
  • Ability to effectively present complex results in a clear and concise manner that is accessible to a diverse audience.
  • Enthusiasm for learning more.
Approval and Enrolment 
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.  

Assessment
The assessment of the applicants will be made by Associate Professor Helge B.D. Sørensen (DTU), Professor Poul Jennum (Rigshospitalet CPH University), and Professor Emmanuel Mignot (Stanford University).

We offer 
We offer an interesting and challenging job in an international environment focusing on education, research, scientific advice and innovation, which contribute to enhancing the economy and improving social welfare. We strive for academic excellence, collegial respect and freedom tempered by responsibility. The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is a leading technical university in northern Europe and benchmarks with the best universities in the world.

Salary and appointment terms
The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD students. The period of employment is 3 years. The candidate will be enrolled as a PhD student at DTU but is required to spend up to 50% of the time at Stanford University.

Workplace: Lyngby Campus and Stanford University, USA.

Further information   
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Helge B.D. Sørensen, PhD, hbs@elektro.dtu.dk.

You can read more about the Department of Electrical Engineering on www.elektro.dtu.dk.   

Application
Please submit your online application no later than 31 March 2017. Applications must be submitted as one pdf file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online," fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one pdf file. The file must include:  
  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All qualified candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.   

The Department of Electrical Engineering is the central department at the Technical University of Denmark in electrical, biomedical engineering and acoustic technology. It is our goal to ensure an engineering training and research, which matches that of other leading universities around the world. The department is organized into sections each covering important areas of electrical, biomedical engineering and acoustic technologies. Including PhD students we have a total of 275 staff members.    

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 10,600 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.