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Research & Teaching 3-year postdoctoral position in Computational Biomedical Engineering

Research & Teaching 3-year postdoctoral position in Computational Biomedical Engineering

22.02.2022

 

A 3-year postdoctoral position is available at the BCN MedTech Research Unit (https://www.upf.edu/web/bcn-medtech/), Department of Information & Communication Technologies (DTIC) of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain. The candidate will contribute as a researcher in some of our multiple active areas in Computational Biomedical Engineering (CBEM), and as a teacher (80 hours / year) (mainly) in the Biomedical Engineering BSc (https://www.upf.edu/web/etic/bachelor-degree-biomedical-engineering-2016) and CBEM MSc (https://www.upf.edu/web/cbem) degrees at UPF. Ideally, the candidate should start the position during the 1st half of 2022. The offered postdoctoral position is fully funded by the DTIC department.

 

The candidate will take a leading role in the Physense research group (https://www.upf.edu/web/physense), currently composed of 15 members (1 PI, 2 postdocs, 9 PhD students, 3 developers), working together with Pr. Oscar Camara to manage it. Specifically, the candidate will be asked to co-supervise and attract new PhD students and research projects, as well as to strengthen the ongoing collaborations with clinical, industrial, and academic partners (see our website) and create new ones. The current research lines in Physense include: patient-specific computational fluid simulations for medical decisions related to the implantation of left atrial appendage occluder devices and the risk of thrombus in atrial fibrillation patients; advanced visual analytics interfaces and computer graphics algorithms (e.g., augmented/virtual reality headsets, web-based platforms and cinematic rendering) for an improved and interactive medical data visualisation; biomechanical models of brain development to better understand cortical abnormalities during pregnancy; deep learning-based analysis of complex imaging data such as 4D flow magnetic resonance or echocardiographic imaging as well as different types of electrophysiological signals (e.g., electrocardiograms, electrograms, Holter); development of explainable artificial intelligence algorithms (e.g., variational autoencoders, multiple kernel learning) to identify the most relevant and interpretable biomarkers for clinical decisions from large multimodal datasets; and electrophysiological simulations of the heart to support ablation-based therapies in patients with arrhythmias (e.g., atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia). Physense is currently part of two active EU projects (both until 2024) and one national project. For an updated list of our group’s publications, please check the following Google Scholar: https://shorturl.at/ltwCU. The candidate would be asked to contribute to some of the existing projects, but he/she would be free to continue and set up his/her own research lines. 

 

The candidate will be the coordinator of a couple of subjects in the Biomedical Engineering BSc and MSc degrees at UPF, also participating in others to cover the 80 hours / year of the contract. Examples of subjects to be filled in are: Introduction to the University and Biomedical Engineering (1st year BSc, compulsory); Computational Techniques in Biomedicine (2nd year BSc, compulsory); Modelling of Organs and Systems (3rd year BSc, compulsory); Advanced Analysis of Biomedical Images (3rd year BSc, elective); or Computational Cardiology (MSc, elective), among others. The teaching plan of these subjects can be found in the following link: https://cutt.ly/IPSSOZr. All of them are given in English, several following a project-based philosophy in which students work for 2-3 months on topics of their own interest, often in relation to Physense research. Most teaching material is already prepared. However, the candidate can propose improvements to make the subjects more interesting. Additionally, the candidate will be asked to propose and supervise several undergraduate and graduate theses of the Biomedical Engineering degrees.       

 

Workplace

Universitat Pompeu Fabra was established in 1990 as a public university with a strong dedication to excellence in research and teaching. UPF is a public, international and research-intensive university that, in just twenty-five years, has earned a place for itself among the best universities in Europe. UPF is the first Spanish university in the world Top 200, positioned in 152nd worldwide and 65th in Europe (Times Higher Education ranking THE2021), and ranked as 10th university under 50 years of age (THE2020) and 5th among young universities in Europe, out of 414 listed institutions. On April 2014, it was the 1st Spanish University to obtain the “HR Excellence in Research” distinction. 

UPF was ranked 1st among universities in Spain and among the top 50 in Europe with regard to the field of Computer Science (THE2019, THE2020 and THE2021 ranking by Subject). The Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC) of UPF initiated its activity in 1999 and has an important track record of active participation in EU projects (67 H2020 projects with a total budget for the department of 30 million EUR). DTIC has a large number of ERC grants (19). It is one of the two Spanish ICT departments that had been awarded the Maria de Maeztu excellence by the Spanish government for the quality and relevance of its pioneering scientific research, and as the top IT research concentration in Spain. The DTIC, which has over 60% of international researchers from 48 different countries, is located on the Poblenou campus, in the heart of the Barcelona [email protected] technology district, which includes high-tech companies, technology centres and public administrations, creating an outstanding area for RTD projects. 

BCN MedTech (https://www.upf.edu/web/bcn-medtech/) is a research unit at UPF that acts as an interdisciplinary and translational platform in biomedical engineering research. It was created in 2016 to integrate transversal competencies in computational methods, tackle health problems and contribute to the technological improvement of the healthcare industry for safer and more predictive medicine. Since then, the unit has been participating in more than 200 RDI projects, 1.000 publications, 19 patents and 57 PhD theses. Activities focus on biomedical image analysis and processing, data mining, complex systems and signal analyses, tissue and organ modelling, multi-scale simulations and biomedical electronics. BCN MedTech has 60 full-time researchers, including one ICREA and 4 faculty professors. It combines international, national and regional projects with the collaboration of both companies and research centres. In 2020, the unit had 7 European, 6 national and 10 regional competitive funds. In 2020, the research unit has been recognized as a TECNIO centre, a label from the Catalan government that acknowledges the value of the research unit's projects in terms of translation of the technology to the market. 

 

Profile of the candidate

We are looking for a highly motivated researcher with a PhD in computational biomedical engineering, ideally related to physiological modelling and/or medical data processing in cardiovascular or neurological applications, willing to do research at the leading edge of biomedical engineering. Equally important is the interest in innovative teaching of undergraduate and graduate courses in biomedical engineering, as part of the duties of an academic member of the university. During the 3-year period of the contract, it is expected that the candidate will apply for individual fellowships (e.g., Juan de la Cierva, Marie Curie, Ramon y Cajal) as the previous step to subsequently apply to the tenure track positions that will open during the next few years at UPF. 

High motivation is the only essential pre-requisite; our top-quality research standards demand hard work, which only strong motivation and commitment can ensure. Candidates must have excellent teamwork and communication skills and be enthusiastic about collaborating with a diverse range of international partners. We expect them to be fluent in oral and, particularly, writing English, as it will be the language used to interrelate with the different partners. Interest in clinical translation is essential since meetings with clinicians will regularly take place. Female applicants are explicitly encouraged to apply and will be treated preferentially whenever they are equally qualified as other male candidates. 

 

Conditions 

BCN-MedTech offers an ideal working environment, mainly due to the large critical mass of experienced senior investigators in diverse areas of biomedical engineering, junior postdoctoral researchers, and an international team of talented young PhD students; there is always someone that can help! In addition, the extensive network of collaborations, including clinical, industrial, and large infrastructure partners, gives us a privileged access to unique data, software tools, and technological facilities. The maximum score usually obtained in individual national and international fellowships evaluating the institution repeatedly demonstrates the excellent training environment of BCN-MedTech. 

A three-year contract will be offered, with a gross annual salary of 35.064,68 euros. You won’t get rich, for sure; still, it allows for a decent living in Barcelona. 

 

Selection criteria

The selection committee uses a number of indicators to evaluate the applicant’s preparedness, motivation and potential.

1st phase, remote pre-selection:

The Scientific, Technological & Academic excellence will be considered at first, based on:

·       Quality of the CV, in general

·       Any demonstrated research experience, particularly if supported by evidence such as scientific publications, patents, participation in scientific congresses, …

·       Any demonstrated teaching experience, particularly if supported by evidence such as number of hours, coordination of subjects, material preparation, student feedback, …

·       Any demonstrated previous recognitions (e.g., grants, awards)

·       Reference letters provided by professors and senior scientists: two refence letters are expected. Referees are asked to address analytical capabilities, technical proficiency, ability to work independently and motivation/commitment.

·       Statement of purpose: past research experience, motivation for applying to this position, academic fit, contribution of the project to the candidate’s future careers plans, ...

·       Additional relevant skills (field-specific): demonstrated, e.g., through previous projects, and or through previous participation in scientific contests, trainings, ...

2nd phase, interview(s):

Should the candidate be preselected at phase 1, a second phase will consist in at least one interview through which the motivation, the proactive behaviour, the capacity to work collaboratively, the organizational skills, the communication skills and the capacity to engage in a scientific discussion and manage problems, will be assessed, among other aspects.

The final decision will be the result of a consensus of an evaluation committee that will take into account the results of both recruitment phases 1 and 2. The candidate will be informed of the section results by email.

 

Application process

All the documents that prove the eligibility of the candidate should be provided. As for the selection process candidates are expected to provide at least the following documents:

·       A brief introduction letter (no more than one A4 page) that summarizes the documents and the nature of the information provided for the selection

·       A full CV

·       The two requested reference letters

·       The letter of purpose (no more than two A4 pages)

All documents must be sent by email to Pr. Oscar Camara <[email protected]>.

Deadline: open until filled.

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