Clinical PhD Position: Investigation on Fetal-Maternal Cardiovascular Coupling

Eindhoven University of Technology
April 30, 2024
Offerd Salary:€2,770
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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Clinical PhD Position: Investigation on Fetal-Maternal Cardiovascular




Irène Curie Fellowship



Electrical Engineering



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Job description

Are you interested in working on pregnancy monitoring to improve pregnancy care? Do you enjoy to expand your clinical knowledge and skills also within a technical and industrial environment? This stimulating PhD position might be the right one for you!

The Biomedical Diagnostic (BM/d) Lab at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is seeking an outstanding clinical PhD candidate to work in the field of pregnancy monitoring with focus on a clinical study regarding the coupling between mother and fetus cardiovascular systems and the mediating role of the uterus and placenta. The project is embedded within the NWO-OTP project MAPPING in collaboration with the respected expert center Máxima Medical Center of Veldhoven, and international Dutch companies such as Philips and Medsim.

Project description

The ‘big four' pregnancy pathologies (i.e., fetal growth restriction, premature birth, congenital disease, and asphyxia) have an incidence of 17-24%, resulting yearly in 2.6 million stillbirths and 303,000 maternal deaths globally. The detection of these pathologies is often late because the implementation of early detection strategies is currently limited. There is established evidence that pathologies and stillbirths are associated with an abnormal development of the fetal cardiovascular system (fCVS) and placenta as well as maladaptation to gestation of the maternal cardiovascular system (mCVS) and the uterus. However, how these abnormal mechanisms result in pregnancy related cardiovascular complications has not been fully investigated. Nevertheless, the (patho)physiological interaction among these components might be the key to unravel the mechanisms responsible for pregnancy pathologies. The MAPPING project envisions a comprehensive investigation of the coupling between mCVS and fCVS, as mediated by the uterus and placenta, both in healthy and pathological pregnancies, with the final aim of improving pregnancy outcome. MAPPING will support the development of novel, diagnostic tools for timely diagnosis and, ultimately, prediction of pregnancy complications.

The PhD candidate will conduct a comprehensive investigation into the coupling between the maternal and fetal cardiovascular systems during pregnancy. To achieve this, the candidate will conduct a clinical study to acquire synchronized clinical measurements, incorporating traditional methods like color Doppler ultrasound and innovative electrophysiological measurements such as maternal and fetal electrocardiography and electrohysterography. The investigation will span different gestational ages and consider varying health statuses.

During the MAPPING project, comprehensive models of the coupling using a data- driven approach will be developed by a technical PhD student also appointed to this project. This will provide information about the development of coupling over time and between healthy and pahtological pregnancies. You will work closely together with this technical PhD student and support the integration of the obtained results into a clinical decision support system for diagnosing and predicting pregnancy complications. The evaluation of the effectiveness of these tools will be conducted by the clinical PhD candidate through interactions with clinicians, the end users of this innovative approach.

Your tasks will be:

  • To develop the clinical protocol for the electrophysiological and ultrasound data acquisition, being responsible for the study design. In particular, the candidate will write the documentation for ethical approval and execute the clinical study and data collection.
  • To assess the plausibility and quality of the results in terms of changes in coupling maps at different gestational ages and anomalies in pathological coupling maps from a physiological perspective, relying on existing knowledge of cardiovascular coupling and disorders.
  • To work on defining the best graphical representation of coupling maps in terms of clinical interpretability by obstetricians, gynecologists, and clinicians. The candidate will conduct this phase by discussing possible options with a group of Dutch experts, using qualitative research methods.
  • Academic and Research Environment:

    Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is one of Europe's top technological universities, situated in the heart of one of Europe's largest high-tech innovation ecosystems. Research at TU/e is characterized by a combination of academic excellence and a strong real-world impact. This impact is pursued via close collaboration with high-tech industries and clinical partners.

    The clinical study will be conducted at Máxima Medical Center, a large tertiary center for obstetric and neonatal care. Máxima MC has a longstanding collaboration with TU/e on pregnancy monitoring research.

    Research related to this position will be carried out at the Biomedical Diagnostics (BM/d) lab of the Signal Processing Systems (SPS) group, which is part of the Electrical Engineering department. The BM/d lab, chaired by Prof. Mischi, has a strong track record in electrophysiological signal processing, physiological modelling, and quantitative analysis of biosignals, ranging from ultrasound and MRI to electrophysiology. More specifically for this project, the BM/d lab has also a long tradition in pregnancy monitoring. For more information, see this link.

    The candidate will have the opportunity to work with various members of the SPS group and will be tightly collaborating with all the partners of the MAPPING project, in particular with Máxima Medical Center.

    Job requirements

    We are looking for candidates that match the following profile:

  • Master's degree in medicine or technical medicine.
  • Strong interest in clinical research.
  • Team player attitude, interested in collaborating with different teams.
  • High motivation and creativity, precise and structured.
  • Good communication and organization skills.
  • Excellent English language skills (writing and presenting).
  • Conditions of employment

    A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self- aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.
  • Information and application

    About us

    Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands- on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow.

    Curious to hear more about what it's like as a PhD candidate at TU/e? Please view the video.


    For more information about the project and any informal enquiries, please contact prof. M. Mischi ([email protected]) or J. van Laar ([email protected]) or B. van der Hout ([email protected]).

    Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact HR Services, email [email protected].

    Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page.


    If interested, please use 'apply now'-button at the top of this page. You should upload the following:

  • A cover letter explaining your motivation and suitability for the position.
  • A detailed Curriculum Vitae (including English proficiency level, nationality, VISA requirements, date of birth as well as programming skills, experience overview, publication list (if any), and key achievements in research project(s)).
  • Contact information of two academic references.
  • Copies of diplomas with course grades.
  • All these documents are mandatory. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

    Candidates will be selected based on graduation mark and proficiency at university including consideration of the reputation of the university, relevant experience and skills, writing skills and publications, work experience as well as performance in interviews.

    Application deadline: 30/04/2024

    Please keep in mind; you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each.

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