PhD Position - aberration-free optical imaging in living brain tissue


Although the past decade has seen a wave of breakthroughs in light-based imaging and stimulation techniques to probe neuronal organization and activity at high spatial and temporal resolution, these techniques suffer from dramatic optical distortions as one proceeds deeper inside the tissue. Currently, wavefront shaping methods are emerging that could correct for these tissue-induced aberrations and allow deeper imaging at improved resolution. Within the NWO Program Neurophotonics, experts in the field of single-neuron physiology (Kole, Wierenga) join forces with experts in advanced imaging and wavefront shaping technology (Mosk, Vellekoop, Gerritsen, Kapitein). The goal is use advanced light-based methodology to unravel the physical principles underlying signal generation, propagation and integration in neurons embedded in functional circuits.

Job description

In this PhD project, you will apply new insights in Adaptive Optics and complex wavefront shaping to compensate for tissue-induced aberrations in 2-photon microscopy and single molecule localization microscopy. You will design, simulate, and implement optical modules for aberration correction while working in the optics lab of Vellekoop (University of Twente), and you will be responsible for integrating these modules with existing microscopes in the biology labs of Wierenga and Kapitein (Universiteit Utrecht).


You will be part of the Biomedical Photonic Imaging (BMPI) group, which is embedded within the Mira Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Technical Medicine of the University of Twente. In this project, you will be supervised by Ivo Vellekoop, who works on microscopy, complex wavefront shaping, and light propagation in scattering media. Other research areas within BMPI include optical coherence tomography, photoacoustic imaging, and speckle flowmetry.


Your work will be to utilize novel concepts in AO to implement high-quality, easy to operate modules that will greatly enhance the quality of existing optical microscopes. Therefore, we are looking for a candidate with a can-do mentality and a strong interest in optics. Experience with optics design (Zemax or other optics design tool) and/or experimental optics are considered advantageous. Since this program brings together different disciplines and research groups at different locations, good communication skills, organizational skills, and conceptual clarity are essential.

Conditions of Employment

When fulfilling a PhD position at NWO-I, you will get the status of junior scientist.

You will have an employee status and can participate in all the employee benefits NWO-I offers. You will get a contract for four years. Your salary will be up to a maximum of 2,834 euro gross per month. The salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8 percent and an end-of-year bonus of 8.33 percent.

You are supposed to have a thesis finished at the end of your four year term with NWO-I.

A training programme is part of the agreement. You and your supervisor will make up a plan for the additional education and supervising that you specifically need. This plan also defines which teaching activities you will be responsible (up to a maximum of ten percent of your time). The conditions of employment of NWO-I are laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres (Cao-Onderzoekinstellingen), more exclusive information is available at this website under Personeelsinformatie (in Dutch) or under Personnel (in English).

General information about working at NWO-I can be found in the English part of this website under Personnel. The 'Job interview code'applies to this position.


Candidates are invited to upload their application, including a letter of motivation, CV, a transcript of MSc grades and names/contact information of 2 or more references.

Include in your application a specific motivation why you are interested to work on adaptive optics and microscopy.

Dr. Ivo M. Vellekoop (
University of Twente

Upload your application here:

More information about the group and the research can be found on