Postdoc on Monte Carlo based treatment planning projects for proton therapy


department of Radiation Oncology

Working Enviroment

The department of Radiation Oncology of the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) is constructing a facility dedicated for proton therapy (the Groningen Proton Therapy Center (GPTC)) at the campus of UMCG.
UMCG and KVI-CART together with several other parties, have established the PARticle Therapy REsearch Center (PARTREC), a research collaboration with a broad research programme aiming to further improve the quality of proton therapy treatment. The GPTC facility at the UMCG and the AGOR facility at KVI-CART will be unique in combining treatment with a research and development programme to demonstrate the clinical and economic benefits and to continuously improve proton therapy technology and the treatment itself.

Job description

Project/Job Description
Implement Monte Carlo (MC)-based treatment planning for proton therapy of moving targets and to develop and validate advanced Quality Assurance (QA) workflows for proton therapy

The postdoc is envisioned to be involved in two projects related to the clinical implementation of proton therapy (PT) of moving targets with scanned proton beams. Both projects have a strong software development and software validation background.
1.To ensure high treatment quality throughout the treatment course, we currently implement a quality control (QA) procedure that is based on delivered dose reconstruction and embedded throughout the treatment course delivery. The procedure covers pre-treatment patient-specific plan QA, based on independent dose recalculation, using a dedicated Monte Carlo dose engine (MCsquare, developed at the Catholic University of Louvain, UCL). As a follow-up throughout the treatment course, every delivered fraction gets reconstructed using daily images (virtualCT derived from (4D)CBCT-of-the-day) and time-correlated delivery information retrieved from therapy equipment. The process is envisioned to be fully automated and controlled by a dedicated web-server with browser-based review and e-mail notifications. This advanced QA workflow should be validated for different (moving) target indications within this project. The eventual goal is to implement this in routine clinical practice in the GPTC, which will become operational in December 2017.
2. Proton therapy (PT) is a very precise and conformal treatment modality for cancer patients, achieving better outcomes than conventional radiotherapy with less side effects for many indications. However, for moving targets like tumors in the lung, the high precision and conformity can become a challenge due to the risk of target dose miss. Additionally, highly heterogeneous lung tissue presents a challenge for analytical dose calculations. At the GPTC, we would like to provide a safe and efficient treatment for moving targets. To verify analytical dose calculations independent simulations within MCsquare will be performed as mentioned in project one. To prevent dose disturbance due to motion, image guidance plays an important role. The GPTC is one of the first proton centers worldwide equipped with CBCT. Besides CBCT also other imaging devices are envisioned to be used. In the second project we want to expand the capabilities of the MCsquare code to assess the clinical benefit of different image guided treatment workflows for moving targets. The eventual goal is to find an optimal clinical image guided workflow for patients with moving targets treated with scanned proton beams.


- PhD in physics (medical physics), biomedical engineering, informatics, life science, or a comparable discipline. Preferably experiences in Monte Carlo systems in medical physics.
- Advanced programming skills (c++, matlab, nodejs, html), linux proficiency.
- Team player with excellent communicative skills who can collaborate efficiently within a multidisciplinary research environment.
- Fluency in English

The UMCG has a preventive Hepatitis B policy. You may be required to build up sufficient protection against Hepatitis B before you can be appointed. Vaccination is provided by the UMCG if necessary.

Conditions of employment

- a temporary contract for 2 years, 1 fte (36.0 hours per week).
- for postdoctoral researchers, depending on your knowledge and experience, your monthly gross salary will be a maximum of €4.194,- (scale 10) based on a full-time basis (36.0 hours per week).
- in addition, the UMCG will offer you 8% holiday pay, an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and a development budget.
- the terms of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Medical Centers (CAO-UMC).
- preferred starting date: as soon as possible.

More information
For more information about this vacancy you may contact:
Dr. Antje Knopf, Associate Professor Department of Radiotherapy, (please do not use for applications)
Prof. Dr. J.A. Langendijk, Department head, (please do not use for applications)

Additional information

Extra information can be obtained thru the following links:
Department of Radiation Oncology
Groningen Proton Therapy Center (GPTC)
Welcome to Groningen

Applying for a job

Please use the the digital application form at the bottom of this page - only these will be processed. You can apply until 20 August 2017. Immediately after sending the digital application form you will receive an email- confirmation with further information.

Digital application form