Area Computational Biology and Biomedical Systems
PhD project: Platform for treatment planning in electroporation based therapies
Supervisor: Miguel Ángel González Ballester, Antoni Ivorra
MdM subproject: Bio Image and Signal Analysis
Electroporation is the phenomenon in which cell membrane permeability to ions and macromolecules is artificially increased by exposing the cell to short high electric field pulses. This phenomenon can be used to produce a transient and reversible cell membrane permeabilization or can be used to produce a severe alteration of cell homeostasis that irreversibly results in cell death. Reversible electroporation of living tissues is the basis for different therapeutic maneuvers on clinical use such as the in vivo introduction of genes into cells ("electrogenetherapy") and the introduction of anti-cancer drugs into cells of solid tumors ("electrochemotherapy"). Irreversible electroporation (IRE) has also found a use in tissues as a minimally invasive surgical procedure to ablate undesirable tissue with important advantages when compared to thermal ablation techniques.
Since electroporation occurs in those regions where the electric field magnitude overcomes a threshold, it is possible to perform treatment planning by computing the electric field distribution.
In this project we will develop a software platform for facilitating treatment planning in electroporation based therapies. In particular, the platform will be aimed at irreversible electroporation treatments for liver tumors. It will include medical imaging visualization and processing tools, surgical planning and navigation technologies, and a solver for computing the electric field distribution. Using this platform, the expert will produce a treatment plan suited to the imaging and positioning tools which are intraoperatively available.
Specific requirements: The candidate should have a background in engineering, physics, mathematics, computer science or related disciplines. Basic knowledge of electromagnetism, excellent computer programming skills (C++, Matlab), and preferentially experience in image processing (knowledge of VTK/ITK/MITK libraries will be highly valued).