PhD Position in NanoHealth and Optical Imaging

Catholic University of Leuven Faculty of Medicine


The work to be performed is linked to the research group "NanoHealth and Optical Imaging" at the Faculty of Medicine (KU Leuven, Belgium). This research group is part of the Translational Cell and Tissue Research Unit and is further embedded in the Molecular Small Animal Imaging Center (MoSAIC). The latter houses a wide range of non-invasive imaging modalities, which the applicant will join. Our recently started team has an excellent international reputation in nanomedicine and optical imaging. We also often work together with other research groups at the KULeuven to assist them with imaging techniques. The field of nanomedicine is receiving increasing attention and has enormous potential for a plethora of pathological conditions, including cancer. One of the main advantages of nanomaterials is the ability to combine multiple modalities in one platform, allowing the nanomaterials to be used simultaneously for diagnostic and therapeutic applications and to use multiple therapeutic options simultaneously. The main bottlenecks hindering the full use of nanomaterials for biomedical purposes is the need for a higher level of selectivity in terms of targeted delivery of the nanomaterials to the target cells, along with the development of new, alternative therapeutic options. These topics are central to the research group. To answer these questions, multidisciplinary research is highly regarded, in which we make extensive use of non-invasive imaging (optical imaging and soon magnetic particle imaging) to investigate the biodistribution and functionality of the nanoformulations. A second research topic in the group focuses on the topic of adoptive cell transfer, and in particular chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-natural killer (NK) cells. We use a wide range of molecular and nanomedical tools to improve therapeutic efficacy of CAR-NK cells, which we combine with our imaging portfolio. The imaging tools are also widely used by our collaborators and are offered to the entire KULeuven community, and academic and industrial researchers in Europe (and beyond). The candidate will aid in setting up and maintaining these collaborations and support the imaging projects that will make use of these tools.


Main responsibilities:

- Perform non-invasive imaging tasks (MPI-CT and optical imaging).

- Prepare studies aimed at non-invasive imaging and assist other research groups in their research

- Contribute to teaching the techniques to PhD students and follow up on different students.

- The candidate will mainly be focused on the imaging part, but will also contribute to and learn the other activities of the lab, with a special focus on nanomedicines and adoptive cell transfer.


Theapplicant has:

A PhD (recently completed or yet to be completed related to preclinical imaging.

  • Experience working with magnetic particle imaging.
  • Experience in handling and testing mice and performing related biochemical tests.
  • Experience with histology and all related skills.
  • Experience with fluorescence microscopy is desirable but not a must.
  • Experience with in vivo optical imaging and µCT is desirable but not a must.
  • International applicants (outside of the EU) are a plus, but not a requirement.
  • Ideally,the applicant has a certificate for animal handling (Felasa B or similar depending on local authorities).
  • Applicants must be enthusiastic, dynamic, reliable and accurate, willing to incorporate previously learned techniques into new approaches.
  • The applicant is a good team player, who likes to be closely supervised and who can also work independently.
  • Must have a great sense of responsibility and good organizational skills.
  • Applicants must be able to communicate well in English. Knowledge of other languages such as Dutch is not a requirement at all.


The starting date is flexible, and can be adapted to the preferences of the successful candidate. Initially, the candidate will have a contract (1 year, with evaluation; which will become 3 years if positive). When the candidate gets selected, we also offer the opportunity to apply for personal scholarships with local funding agencies to obtain 3-6 year post-doctoral time. We will help the applicant to grow and interact with the research team and all collaborators and will foster a nurturing environment that stimulates growth and enables the candidate to work towards their envisioned future.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Stefaan Soenen, tel.: +32 16 33 00 34, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than November 01, 2022 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: November 1, 2022
  • Tags: Beeldvorming en Pathologie
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