One Postdoc Ultrasound Hemodynamic Imaging in a Porcine Cranial Window Model at KU Leuven

Job Title

One Postdoc Ultrasound Hemodynamic Imaging in a Porcine Cranial Window Model at KU Leuven

Closing Date: 14/04/2023

Job description

The multidisciplinary Leuven Neurotrauma Research Group (L’NRG) at Biomedical Sciences consists of a close collaboration of the internationally renowned research teams of Experimental Neurosurgery and Intensive Care Medicine. The group is composed of academic and research staff and combines an animal research laboratory and a large intensive care unit (67 beds, over 3,000 admissions of critically ill patients including neurological and neurosurgical patients), both located at the Health Sciences Campus Gasthuisberg in Leuven. L’NRG has established a cranial window porcine model for the study of cerebrovascular autoregulation (patho)physiology and holds a tradition in applying computational techniques in secondary insult monitoring and prediction modeling in acute brain injury. The ultimate goal of L’NRG is to develop smart monitoring tools that are effective in helping clinicians in decision-making and improving outcomes. In addition, L’NRG has a close collaboration with the team of prof. Urban at NERF (IMEC), at which high resolution ultrasound imaging solutions are developed for hemodynamic and functional brain monitoring. The unique setting of close interaction between clinicians and researchers allows to swiftly translate from bench to bedside and vice-versa.


Traumatic brain injury can lead to devastating consequences for patient and family and is the number one cause of death and disability in young people. Medical management consists of the prevention, early detection and treatment of secondary insults that cause additional damage to the brain. Cerebrovascular autoregulation is an ingenious protective physiological mechanism that ensures sufficient cerebral blood flow in spite of varying blood pressure and other threats to homeostasis, that is however often impaired after traumatic brain injury. This impairment has been recognized as an extremely important threat to good outcome, and steering blood pressure based on the monitoring of autoregulation status could mean a potential breakthrough in management. However, validated methods to monitor cerebrovascular autoregulation do not exist to date. In our lab, we have developed a porcine cranial window model in which arteriolar diameter and flow changes in response to changes in blood pressure and PaCO2 were studied. One PhD project has been based on this model (Sci Rep. 2019 Sep 16;9(1):13333; J Am Heart Assoc.2022 Jan 4;11(1):e022943) and two are ongoing. The revisited cerebral bloodflow / cerebral perfusion pressure curve (Lassen curve) has been revisited andupdated based on the obtained data, and in pilot experiments we have learned that the high resolution ultrasound imaging techniques can yield information that is very similar to the cranial window model output and hence, can replace the elaborate cranial window experiments. Moreover, the ultrasound technology is eventually transferrable to the patient setting in the ICU. Meanwhile, alsoa porcine model mimicking human severe traumatic brain injury is being developed. The goal of the current project is to further validate the fast ultrasound output and demonstrate it is possible through this technology to develop a real time autoregulation status monitor. Next, this monitor can be tested in the trauma piglet model to then demonstrate the beneficial effect of autoregulation steered therapies on the extent of post-traumatic ischemia. A four year grant was obtained from the Flanders Scientific Funding Agency (FWO).

The candidate should have a strong academic record and PhD in the biomedical field. The candidate should be able to independently perform experiments that include anesthesia and surgical manipulations, process and analyse the data and come to a physiologically meaningful interpretation. Apart from surgical skills and a lab animal science certificate valid in Belgium, data analysis and statistics skills, as well as scientific writing skills are essential. Knowledge of R, Matlab, and Python and/or Weka is an advantage. Knowledge of cerebrovascular physiology is helpful, but can be acquired in the project.

The candidate should be able to work independently, take initiative, adopt critical judgment and demonstrate ability to work in team. The candidate should be motivated to discuss with clinicians, for the design and development of an eventual bedside monitor. This will require visits to the intensive care unit, at the bedside, as an observer without being directly involved in patient care.Proficiency in written and spoken English is crucial.The appointment can be prolonged after the current project in mutual agreement.


The candidate is offered:A full time postdoc position in an international research team at KU Leuven. The KU Leuven is one of Europe’s leading research universities and tops Reuters ranking of Europe’s most innovative universities. L’NRG offers a dynamic and intellectually challenging environment, in close collaboration with experts from a wide variety of domains.
A thorough scientific environment, and the possibility to become a world-class researcher.
The possibility to participate in international conferences and collaborations.

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Bart Depreitere, tel.: +3216344290, mail: .
You can apply for this job no later than April 14th 2023 via e-mail () or  via the KUL online application tool ( 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 .

You can apply for this job no later than April 14, 2023 via the online application tool
KU Leuven is dedicated to promoting the role of women in science, and, therefore, explicitly invites women to apply.
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 .

Other Links: