UCL EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Integrated Imaging in Healthcare


NOW CLOSED - Exploiting photon energy information in Positron Emission Tomography

PhD Studentship - exploiting photon energy information in Positron Emission Tomography - Deadline 02 January 2023

Spectrum of detected gamma proton energies

14 December 2022

Primary Supervisor: Prof Kris Thielemans (UCL)

Secondary Supervisor: Prof Simon Arridge (UCL)

Subsidiary Supervisors: Dr Floris Jansen (GE Healthcare)


A 4 year funded PhD studentship is available as part of a long-term collaboration between the Institute of Nuclear Medicine (UCL and UCLH), the Centre for Medical Image Computing (UCL) and GE Healthcare.

The successful candidate will join the UCL CDT in Intelligent, Integrated Imaging in Healthcare (i4health) cohort and benefit from the unique multidisciplinary activities and events organised by the centre. The funding covers an increased annual stipend (around £22,000) and UK “home” tuition fees for 4 years. Funding is available to cover travel, conferences and consumables. Eligibility follows standard research council rules for CDTs, which include UK/Irish citizenship or ordinary residence within the UK for 3 years prior to the funding commencing


Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging forms a crucial part of managing the patient’s treatment pathway in cancer and many other diseases. However, due to limitations on radioactive dose to the patient, PET images can be noisy and with relatively low image resolution. Modern PET scanners have experimental capabilities to measure gamma photon energy information in much more detail than before, which has the potential to increase signal to noise (SNR) ratio, as shown in preliminary scientific papers. However, further work is needed before this can be progressed to commercial systems.

Research Aims

This studentship aims to evaluate the impact of various methods to exploit additional photon energy information on image quality, as well as optimise the most promising candidates. Aspects to be included are scatter rejection by using energy window tuning, photon scatter estimation, accidental coincidences, as well as image reconstruction strategies. We envisage combining established PET data processing with novel techniques using Machine Learning.

Methods will be evaluated on Monte Carlo simulations as well as real PET measurements.


Candidates must meet the UCL graduate entry requirements which include holding at least an upper second-class degree or equivalent qualifications in a relevant subject area such as physics, biomedical engineering, computer science or applied mathematics. A Master’s degree in a relevant discipline and additional research and/or programming experience would be an advantage. Depending on experience the student will be entered into either a 4-year PhD or a 1-year MRes+3-year PhD programme.

How to Apply:

Please complete the following steps to apply:

  • Make a formal application to via the UCL Application Portal . Please select the programme code MRes Medical Imaging TMRMEISING01 and enter exploiting photon energy information in Positron Emission Tomography - 23001 under ‘Name of Award 1’.
  • Send an expression of interest and current CV to : k.thielemans@ucl.ac.uk and cdtadmin@ucl.ac.uk . Please use the subject title: Project Code 23001 and quote your UCL Application ID.

Application Deadline -  02 January 2023

Application Process:

  • After the deadline, all applicants that specified Project 23001 and with a Portico application will be considered for interview.
  • Candidates will normally be invited for interview within two-weeks of the deadline. If you have not been contacted within this time-period, you have unfortunately not been successful in being shortlisted.
  • The interview panel will normally consist of the supervision team on the project and the CDT Director.
  • The interview will normally consist of a short presentation (5-10mins) by the candidate followed by questions from a panel.
  • The successful candidate will be informed by email and given a week to confirm whether they wish to accept the PhD place and funding.
  • Note that applications without specifying the project they are applying for and/or making a formal Portico application will be automatically rejected.
  • Once accepted, a formal UCL offer of admission will be sent to the applicant as well as an offer of studentship funding.