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Transforming dental imaging using optical coherence tomography

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The aim of this exciting project is to apply optical coherence tomography to revolutionise dental imaging through a 4 year PhD studentship. The project will be undertaken jointly between the UCL Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering and the UCL Eastman Dental Institute.

Funding will be at least the UCL minimum (£17,609) and home fees and is available to UK students only.

The successful candidate will join the UCL CDT in Intelligent, Integrated Imaging in Healthcare (i4health) cohort and benefit from the activities and events organised by the centre.

Project start date

As soon as possible, however, this can agreed with the successful candidate.

Project Background

Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a high resolution, three-dimensional, non-ionising, optical imaging technique. OCT is now the second most frequently used clinical imaging technique thanks to its success in ophthalmology. This project aims to develop OCT into the imaging technique of choice in general dentistry, where it is badly needed. For example, although dental caries affects more than 90% of adults, the current gold standard of visual inspection and X-ray radiography detects only around 67% of caries.

OCT is highly sensitive to subtle changes in soft and hard tissue microstructure which allows for earlier detection of dental disease, monitoring treatment responses over shorter time scales giving it enormous potential in dental imaging.

The UCL Eastman Dental Institute (EDI) is a center of excellence for post-graduate education and clinical research. Research at the EDI has revealed promising evidence regarding the clinical use of OCT in the oral cavity. This project seeks to translate OCT into a routine clinical tool in three steps: identify the most promising clinical applications; optimizing hardware and imaging protocols; and developing bespoke image analysis tools. This work will be key to OCT becoming a mainstream imaging tool in general dentistry.

Application Details and Eligibility:

This studentship is only open to Home Fee paying applicants.

Applicants are generally expected to  have, or expect to obtain, a UK first class or 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent international qualifications or experience) in physics, engineering, mathematics or related subjects. Applicants must have an interest in applying their skills in clinical settings.

Applicants should demonstrate all of the following skills and attributes:
 •    Coding in high level languages such as Matlab and Python.
 •    Willingness to engage with clinicians and patients

Applicants should also demonstrate some of the following desirable skills:
 •    Experience with image analysis and segmentation.
 •    Background in rapid prototyping such as by CAD and 3D printing.
 •    Experience with machine learning.

  • A working knowledge optical imaging or optical coherence tomography

Supervision team

Primary Supervisor: Dr Peter Munro
Clinical Supervisor: Prof Francesco D’Aiuto

How to apply:

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