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Multimodal label-free optical diagnosis of early oral cancers


Project details:

First supervisor: Dr Mads Bergholt

Second supervisor: Professor Richard Cook

Sponsor: KCL (Self-funded)

Mode of study: Full-time

Project duration:3-4 years

Eligibility: Home/EU/Overseas

Start date: Open until suitable candidate is found

Application deadline:  Open until suitable candidate is found

Reference number:  2022/DOCS/04

Project description:

Oral cancers are severe life-limiting diseases, particularly when discovered in the later stages. Early detection in precancerous or early cancer stages (i.e., carcinoma in situ) is among the most important measures for reducing morbidity and mortality rates in oral cancer patients.

Conventional diagnosis relies on gross inspection and biopsy of the oral cavity which has resulted in 5 year survivals of up to 90% for early tumours. This survival rate however declines to 50% for advanced cancers, highlighting the necessity of early diagnosis as a primary factor in determining patient outcomes.

This project aims to develop a multimodal approach for oral cancer diagnostics using a combination of novel widefield guidance and pointwise optical biopsy. We will an integrated laparoscopic modality based on vascular imaging and molecular profiling using Raman spectroscopy and optical coherence tomography (OCT). We will coregister the widefield vascular images, OCT depth images and Raman molecular profile and performed deep learning for classification of cancer grade and stage.

Research training 

  • microscopy & optics 
  • biophotonics
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Quantitative computing methodologies and data analysis

 Person specification:

  • Undergraduate Degree in Physics /  engineering / optics or similar qualification
  • Previous research experience in the area of RAMAN imaging and biophotonics
  • Interest in developing self & research capabilities in a unique world leading team arena
  • Interest in the development and optimisation of diagnostic instruments for clinical cancer diagnostics

To view entry requirements and further general information, see Dental and Health Sciences Research MPhil/PhD prospectus page.

Next steps

Please apply online at following these steps:

  1. Register a new account/login

  2. Once logged in, select Create a new application

  3. Enter ‘Dental and Health Sciences Research MPhil/PhD (Full-time)/(Part-time)' under Choose a programme. Please ensure you select the correct mode of study

  4. Select  the start date

  5. Please note: Applicants must include the project reference number (2022/DOCS/04) in the 'Research proposal' and 'Funding (point 5)' sections of the application.


Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss projects with the first supervisor prior to submitting an application. 

Contact for further information:

Dr Mads Bergholt 



Prof Richard Cook 




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