Postdoctoral Research Associate in BioMedical Image Analysis

Durham, United Kingdom
Oct 15, 2020
End of advertisement period
Nov 14, 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Computer Science

Grade 7: - £33,797
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 11 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 14-Nov-2020, 7:59:00 AM

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

The Department of Computer Science is rapidly expanding – it will more than double in size over the next 10 years from 18 to approximately 40 staff. A new building for the department (joint with Mathematical Sciences) will be built to house the expanded Department, and is expected to be completed in 2021. The current Department has research strengths in (1) algorithms and complexity, (2) computer vision, imaging, and visualisation and (3) high-performance computing, cloud computing, and simulation. We work closely with industry (e.g. Jaguar Landrover, Renault, IBM, P&G) and government departments (e.g. MoD, Home Office, Department of Transport). Research-led teaching is a key strength of the Department, which came 6th in the Complete University Guide. The department offers BSc and MEng undergraduate degrees and is currently redeveloping its interdisciplinary taught postgraduate degrees. The size of its student cohort has more than trebled in the past five years. The Department has an exceptionally strong External Advisory Board that provides strategic support for developing research and education, consisting of high-profile industrialists and academics.

Computer Science is one of the very best UK Computer Science Departments with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students.

The Role

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate to work on a project entitled “Automated 3D measurement of macular holes”

Macular holes (MH) are a common and blinding condition with a prevalence of up to 0.5% in the over 60-year+ age group and are bilateral in up to 10% of cases. The holes are measured using optical coherence tomography (OCT) scanners. These are medical imaging devices which provide highly detailed and magnified optical cross sections through the retina and the macular hole. The scans take seconds to perform and are pain free. Currently the widths of the holes are then measured from these scan images by clinicians using calipers in one dimension. This is a time-consuming process, subject to error and not representative of the complex 3D shape of the holes, which vary hugely from person to person. Recently, Prof David Steel and Dr Boguslaw Obara have produced a fully automated image analysis approach that can measure MH in 3D from routinely acquired preoperative OCT images.

The aim of this project is to extend the proposed image analysis approach ability to measure some finer detail of the macular holes that will allow its ability to better predict outcome and the best surgery.

The role of the post holder is to:

  • To adopt the proposed image analysis approach to 3D OCT images from the major OCT imaging systems manufacturers
  • To extensively test the validity of the proposed image analysis approach to provide accurate and repeatable measurements of MH.
  • To extend the proposed image analysis approach to be able to measure finer details of the holes such as the health of the retinal layers around the holes by detecting the fine ELM and ellipsoid lines of the retina.

This project is in a collaboration between Prof. David Steel (Sunderland Eye infirmary and Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University, UK) and Dr Boguslaw Obara (Department of Computer Science, Durham University, UK).

Responsibilities :

  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  • To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
  • To be involved in student supervision, as appropriate, and assist with the assessment of the knowledge of students.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by participation in the undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.

This post is fixed term for 11 months.

The post-holder is employed to work on research/a research project which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by 01/11/2020.

The Requirements


  1. Qualifications
    • A PhD (or be close to submission) in Computer Science, Bioinformatics, Mathematics/Statistics, Physics or a related subject.
  2. Experience
    • Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
    • Evidence of being able to conduct research in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Image Processing, Pattern Recognition, and Machine Learning (e.g. Deep Learning, Unsupervised Learning, Reinforcement Learning).
    • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
    • Demonstrable ability to present research papers at national/international conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
  3. Skills
    • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
    • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
    • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
    • Demonstrate strong mathematical ability, in particular in areas such as: differential calculus, mathematical optimisation, differential geometry.
    • Demonstrate programming ability in languages such as Python.


  1. Experience
    • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
    • A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.
    • Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics.
    • Experience with UNIX and Git version control.
    • Evidence of experience in contributing to collaborative research projects.
    • Experience in server technology, in particular deploying Python models on a typical server with an interface, e.g. HTML5-bootstrap-javascript-AJAX
    • Evidence of collaboration with industries, policy makers, or institutions.
    • Experience with software delivery to a research sponsor.
  2. Skills
    1. Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research.
    2. Ability to set research goals, be self-motivated and proactive.
    3. A keen eye for visual presentation, software design, and in writing clear, concise, elegant code.
    4. Strong interest in interdisciplinary research.

How to Apply

Please Note: Candidates applying via Redeployment are only eligible to apply for a post at the same Grade or lower.

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Boguslaw Obara on 0191 334 2431 or email boguslaw.obara@durham.ac.uk. All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/. As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:

  • A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;

Next Steps

The assessment for the post will include a presentation and interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment shortly after the closing date.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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