PhD position in X-ray based 3D virtual histopathology for studying metastases evolution in colorectal cancer

Materials science and technology are our passion. With our cutting-edge research, Empa's around 1,100 employees make essential contributions to the well-being of society for a future worth living. Empa is a research institution of the ETH Domain.
Empa is the leading research institute for material science and technology in Switzerland. Empa’s Centre for X-ray Analytics develops X-ray analytical and imaging methods for understanding materials structure in material, life- and medical sciences. 

The PhD research will be on the development and application of novel X-ray imaging based 3D virtual histopathology methods for studying the evolution of metastasis formation in colorectal cancer. In this truly interdisciplinary and multi-center project, the PhD student will work in strong collaboration with other PhD students and researchers from the University of Bern, University of Florence and HES-SO. By extending histopathology imaging to 3D, we aim to analyze and understand better tumor spread mechanisms in colorectal cancer by combining 2D and 3D structural information.

Your tasks

  • Further development and optimization of 3D virtual histopathology by X-ray phase contrast micro-CT for metastasis formation in colorectal cancer using FFPE blocks 
  • Correlation with 2D and other 3D microscopic techniques 
  • Development of corresponding image analysis and signal extraction methods 
  • Establishment of a unique 3D micro-CT histology data base for colorectal tumor metastasis 
  • data management, data treatment and contribution to data science and ML methods and analysis

Your profile

If you would like to make a major impact on 2D and 3D cancer diagnostic and revolutionize digital pathology, you are highly motivated, communicative and passionate working in an interdisciplinary field and fulfill the following criteria: 
  • Completed Master`s degree in biomedical engineering, physics or similar. 
  • Have strong hands-on lab skills 
  • Have some experience with X-ray methods and/or imaging 
  • Experience in digital image processing and machine learning methods for image processing is a plus 
  • Have preferably some additional experience in the biomedical domain 
  • Have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree 
  • Fluent in English, (German is beneficial) 
then this position might be for you!

Our offer

We offer an international, highly stimulating research environment with excellent infrastructure and broad interdisciplinary surroundings with plenty of possibilities for personal and professional development. The project duration is four years. Desired starting date is as soon as reasonably possible or upon mutual agreement.
We live a culture of inclusion and respect. We welcome all people who are interested in innovative, sustainable and meaningful activities - that's what counts.
We look forward to receiving your complete online application including a letter of motivation, CV, certificates, diplomas and contact details of two reference persons. Please submit these exclusively via our job portal. Applications by e-mail and by post will not be considered.
Patricia Nitzsche, Stv. Leiterin Human Resources / Dep. Head Human Resources


  Dr. Robert Zboray
Group leader X-ray Imaging

+41 58 765 4602

Your future place of work

Ueberlandstrasse 129
8600 Dübendorf

Empa as an employer

Innovative, sustainable, meaningful activities
Creating added value for society
International, multicultural working environment
Freedom to create and develop
Culture of inclusion and respect
Excellent balance between different areas of life
Multiple award-winning and certified employer
Benefits for rail, mobile, childcare, catering, etc.