Hyperpolarized Magnetic Resonance is a unique, innovative tool that allows new vistas in medical imaging and spectroscopy. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a widely used imaging method for studying in vivo metabolism non-invasively. Generally, MRS relies on signals from abundant protons. However, it can also be applied to stable, magnetic isotopes (e.g. 13C) to detect the uptake and transformation of infused labelled molecules when combined with signal enhancement techniques (hyperpolarization). We use dissolution Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (dDNP) to enhance the MRS signal. The introduction of the dDNP method for metabolic imaging in vivo has thus enabled new ways of diagnosing disease.
The enhanced 13C signal (hyperpolarization) on isotope labelled metabolites is created at cryogenic temperatures and high magnetic field by Dynamic Nuclear Polarization using dedicated equipment. After hyperpolarizing the solid by DNP, the sample is rapidly melted and introduced as a solute into a living system placed in an MR scanner, with the subsequent metabolic MRS. Hyperpolarized MR overcomes the fundamental limitations of conventional magnetic resonance and is currently translated to human studies with several early-phase clinical trials in progress including early reports showing 13C-pyruvate to 13C-lactate metabolism in healthy human brain.
In this project the idea is to exploit the fast and efficient DNP of abundant protons in the sample and cross-polarize to less abundant nuclei (13C) in the sample. This can significantly speed up the polarization rate constant and improve throughput. We would like to study the efficiency of various polarization transfer schemes for a range of 13C-labelled metabolites with medical relevance.
At HYPERMAG in the Section for Magnetic Resonance at DTU Health Technology we are experts in Hyperpolarized MR.
Responsibilities and qualifications
The aim of this PhD project is to study and develop cross polarization methods in dDNP. Specifically, the aim is to develop hardware (NMR/DNP probe) and pulse sequences that provide efficient transfer of polarization from abundant protons to low gamma nuclei such as 13C. The target is to enable this for samples and molecules with interest for in vivo metabolic MR. The studies will take place in our lab on a range of different dDNP polarizers and NMR consoles. You should have a good theoretical and experimental understanding of NMR (solid state NMR would be an advantage). You should be interested in experimental research and be proficient in a lab (sample handling and equipment). You should have good mathematical and programmatical qualifications, and experience with NMR simulations.
As a PhD student in the Section for Magnetic Resonance you are expected to:
- Contribute to research-based education of bachelor and master students or be a teaching assistant in our courses.
- Take responsibility for the performance of instrumentation for hyperpolarized magnetic resonance.
- 3-6 months exchange visit to one of our international collaborators who are leading research groups in hyperpolarized magnetic resonance.
You must have a two-year master’s degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master’s degree.
Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.
Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.
You can read more about career paths at DTU here and the level of salary here.
Further information may be obtained from Professor Jan Ardenkjær-Larsen, +45 4525 3918, email: email@example.com.
You can read more about DTU Health Tech at www.healthtech.dtu.dk/english.
If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 31 December 2021 (Danish time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link “Apply online”, fill out 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)
You may apply prior to obtaining your master’s degree but cannot begin before having received it.
All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.
DTU Health Tech engages in research, education, and innovation base on technical and natural science for the healthcare sector. The Healthcare sector is a globally expanding market with demands for the most advanced technological solutions. DTU Health Tech creates the foundation for companies to develop new and innovative services and products which benefit people and create value for society. DTU Health Techs expertise spans from imaging and biosensor techniques, across digital health and biological modelling, to biopharma technologies. The department has a scientific staff of about 210 persons, 130 PhD students and a technical/administrative support staff of about 160 persons, of which a large majority contributes to our research infrastructure and related commercial activities.