In-situ characterization of the mechanical properties of cancerous tissue

Contact: Steve Vanlanduit

Plasma (an ionized gas) is increasingly being used for the treatment of skin cancer. The main advantage of plasma treatment compared to other cancer therapies is that it is localized, inexpensive and simple to use. While clinical plasma oncology studies have been performed and reported in literature, it is not standard practice yet. In this project we will study the underlying mechanisms of plasma treatment of cancerous tissue (with a focus on melanoma). We will make the plasma treatment more controlled, standardized and repeatable.

The project is a collaboration between four research groups of the University of Antwerp: Biomedical Physics (BIMEF), Plasma Lab for Applications in Sustainability and Medicine (PLASMANT), Center for Oncological Research (CORE) and the Industrial Vision Lab (InViLab).

The research activities of the project will be performed by three PhD researchers.

One of the PhD researchers (supervised by prof. Joris Dirckx from BIMEF and prof. Steve Vanlanduit from InViLab) will focus on the development of a radically new method to follow-up the effect of  plasma treatment of cancerous tissue by looking at changes in the mechanical properties of the tissue during plasma treatment. These mechanical stiffness values are obtained by exciting the tissue with a sound or ultrasound wave and measuring the resulting tissue vibrations with the aid of a scanning laser Doppler vibrometer (this is a laser interferometer instrument that can measure very small vibrations at very high frequencies). From the measurement the mechanical stiffness and damping will be calculated using visco-elastic models of the tissue.

We are currently looking for candidates for this PhD. If you have any interest in the PhD vacancy,  please contact prof. Steve Vanlanduit for more information.