PhD position for developing a decision support tool for patients with chronic low back pain


Job description

Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is a highly prevalent disease with poorly understood aetiology. The affected population is heterogeneous and the condition multifactorial. This makes it challenging to determine the right treatment. In this project, we will develop a decision support tool to help patients and physicians choose a treatment that is likely to be successful. You will contribute to this decision support tool by developing automatic image analysis methods for assessing degenerative spinal and muscular changes on MRI scans. You will work in close collaboration with clinicians, including orthopedic surgeons and radiologists, and with image analysis and machine learning scientists. You will develop new image analysis tools based on deep learning and similar state-of-the-art technologies.

You will be part of the Radboud AI for Health Lab, in which several PhD candidates are working on artificial intelligence innovations that have a direct impact on clinical care. An important part of this project is therefore also the validation of the methods that you will develop and their translation into the routine diagnostic workup of patients with chronic low back pain. We are collaborating in this project with the Sint Maartenskliniek, a hospital specialized in musculoskeletal disorders in which every year thousands of patients with chronic low back pain are examined and treated.


We are looking for an ambitious, creative and enthusiastic computer scientist, biomedical engineer or data scientist. You should have a MSc degree in a related field and you should have a clear interest in medical image analysis and machine learning. Good communication skills and programming experience, preferably in Python/C++, are essential. Experience with machine learning and medical image processing is a plus.

Terms of employment

You will be appointed as a PhD student with the standard salary and secondary conditions for PhD students in the Netherlands. Your performance will be evaluated after 1 year. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 3 years. The research should result in a PhD thesis.


Please apply before 25 October 2019 via the Radboudumc website. In your application include a motivation letter, your CV, list of grades and links to publications, your Master thesis or other work you have written in English.

Questions can be directed to Dr. Nikolas Lessmann and Dr. Miranda van Hooff.