PhD Position in Image-reconstruction and Guidance of Continuum Robots in ENT Surgery
Catholic University of Leuven Department of Mechanical Engineering

The Robot Assisted Surgery (RAS) group is a growing (>20 PhD's and >4 postdocs), dynamic, multi-disciplinary research group focusing on surgical robotics, medical devices, haptics, virtual and augmented reality. The group has links with micro-precision manufacturing, mechanical design, robotics, smart instrumentation and biomedical research groups in the department of mechanical engineering. Over the years (RAS was founded in 2001 by Prof. H. Van Brussel), the group has collected a unique research infrastructure. The group maintains tight and multiple collaborations with UZ Leuven, the largest (university) hospital in Belgium, which is located at 10 minutes ride (bicycle) of the department. The group's purpose is to develop innovative solutions addressing surgical needs and to verify and validate these developments in realistic settings. We are highly involved in national and international collaborations both as partner and as coordinator of EU-funded projects.


Continuum robots are able to navigate through highly tortuous but otherwise fragile body lumens without surgeons needing to resort to invasive interventions. Also anatomic structures that could otherwise not be accessed come within reach. Due to limited size and restricted access, operators typically have at best a poor view on the environment and experience problems to reliably steer their instruments. This PhD project explores the use of novel sensor technologies and reconstruction algorithms to visualize and reconstruct the targeted anatomy intra-operatively. Active sensing schemes will be developed to optimize reconstruction and guide the robot and operator safely through the respective lumens. The focus is on ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat) where narrow natural orifices can be accessed, but applications in clinical fields where intraluminal navigation is important are never far. 


  • Candidates must hold a computer science or engineering diploma (with expertise in machine, deep learning, medical imaging, biomedical applicatios, robotics and/or control) that gives access to the KU Leuven Arenberg Doctoral School PhD program (MSc degree obtained “cum laude” or equivalent)
  • Candidates must be fluent in English.
  • We are seeking a highly motivated and result-oriented candidate with a strong background in image or signal processing, robotics and/or control, experience in machine learning, deep learning is a bonus.
  • The candidate must have good problem solving skills, should be ambitious but should above all be a team player !


The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Universityof Leuven (KU Leuven) is pleased to offer a fully-funded PhDposition. Note that a PhD salary in Belgium is similar or higher than the salary of a starting engineer in industry.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Emmanuel Vander Poorten, tel.: +32 16 32 25 28, mail: or Mr. Gianni Borghesan, tel.: +32 16 32 92 67, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than March 31, 2023 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: March 31, 2023
  • Tags: Ingenieurswetenschappen
  • Download: file

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