Postdoctoral Fellowship in Epidemiology
Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, France (Fontenay-aux-Roses)
22 January 2023
Laboratory of Epidemiology / Department for Research on the Biological and Health Effects of Ionizing Radiation
Health and Environment Division / Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, France
Fixed term contract: 24 months
Starting date: December 2022 / January 2023
Post-doc subject: Quantification of the cancer risk associated with the exposure to ionising radiations received in childhood during interventional cardiac procedures within the framework of the European HARMONIC project.
The Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) is a French expert in research and expertise in the fields of nuclear safety, nuclear materials control and protection, and protection against ionizing radiation. Within IRSN, the research carried out by the Epidemiology Laboratory aims to improve, through the epidemiological monitoring of cohorts and statistical analyses, knowledge of the health effects of ionizing radiation in humans, particularly in the context of occupational, medical or environmental exposures. This research contributes to IRSN’s mission of expertise in the field of human radiation protection.
Interventional cardiology constitutes a great improvement in the diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart diseases among children in comparison with cardiac surgery for about three decades. But these interventional cardiac procedures (ICP) are performed under X-ray catheter guidance, leading to patient exposure to ionising radiation (IR). It has been shown that exposure to high doses of IR were associated with an increased risk of cancer, but the exposure to lower doses is less known. Children are much more sensitive to IR than adults and it is necessary to better understand the long-term health effects of these exposures in order to optimize interventional cardiology practices and reduce the risk of long-term adverse effects.
Little is known on the risk of cancer among children after ICP. Some studies observed an increase of cancer incidence among these children in comparison with the general population, whereas other studies didn’t observe any increase. The dose received to the organs has been reconstructed in only one study, among 11,270 children in UK, where an increase of the hematopoietic cancer risk was not significantly associated with the active bone marrow dose, after taking into account for organ transplant status (a predisposing factor for cancer).
The COCCINELLE cohort was set up in France and to date, includes 17,104 children having received a first ICP before 16 years old between 2000 and 2013 and coming from 15 paediatric cardiology departments. The database has been linked with the French National Directory for the Identification of Natural Persons (RNIPP) to collect vital status, with the National Childhood Cancer Registry (RNCE) to collect cancer diagnosis, with the medical discharge database of the participating hospitals (PMSI) and the national Health Insurance database (SNDS) to collect information on predisposing factors for cancer and exposure to CT scans. An extension of the inclusion period until 2020 is underway. The estimation of the active bone marrow dose has been performed from about one thousand ICP providing detailed dosimetric information. The dose-response relationship for the risk of hematopoietic cancer was assessed on aggregated data with a Poisson regression model; the relative risk didn’t show any significant increased risk for hematopoietic cancer after taking into account for predisposing factor for cancer and CT scan exposure.
It is in this context that the European HARMONIC project (Health effects of cArdiac fluoRoscopy and MOderN radIotherapy in paediatriCs) was launched in 2019, with funding from the European Commission as part of the Euratom H2020 call for projects. This project gathers 24 partners from 13 countries and the coordinator is the ISGLOBAL Institute (Spain).
The HARMONIC project will contribute to the improvement of knowledges on long-term effects of IR medical exposures on the health of children, with a focus on two distinct and complementary populations: on the one hand, patients treated by a modern radiotherapy technique (such as proton therapy), on the other hand patients diagnosed and/or treated by interventional cardiology (Work Package WP3), with organ-associated doses varying according to the complexity of the procedures. The WP3, co-piloted by IRSN (France) and the New-Castle University (UK), aims to study the association between the IR exposure and the risk of cancer among children who underwent an ICP. The project is based on the building of an international cohort from seven European cohorts, including the French COCCINELLE cohort. The WP3 has established a common protocol for data collection, organ dose reconstruction method and statistical analyses of cancer risks in the international cohort. All the children included in the cohort will be followed-up until 2023 from national cancer incidence and mortality registries in order to determine the cancer incidence and mortality from cancer. The assessment of the dose-response relationship will require the estimation of the IR doses absorbed by the organs of interest (doses will be calculated in the dedicated WP).
Objectives of post-doc
The main objective is to quantify the long-term risk of developing a cancer (leukemia, lymphoma or solid cancer) in association with the IR exposure among children who have undergone ICP.
In a first step, this work will be realised in the COCCINELLE cohort with the analyses of the individual data by applying a survival model. The role of some factors, such as the age at exposure, the presence of predisposing factors for cancer, (Down syndrome, organ transplantation) or the exposure to CT scan will be assessed in order to assess how these factors can modify the association between IR exposure and cancer risks.
In a second step, the analyses will be conducted in the whole European HARMONIC cohort, by studying the risks by means of models using aggregated as well as individual data.
Contribution of the post-doctoral research topic for the candidate
The topic will allow the post-doctoral fellow to gain experience in the field of IR epidemiology and radiation protection.
Beyond the work performed in the host laboratory, the HARMONIC project will allow the post-doc to work in collaboration with other epidemiology research teams at the European level.
This work will lead to the writing of two scientific articles.
Contribution of the post-doctoral research topic for the host laboratory
The postdoctoral fellowship will reinforce knowledge on the risk of medical radiation of children, a demographic group for which data are quite sparse. The results will also contribute to the improvement of patient radiation protection, to the improvement of the risk management in the field of interventional radiology, and will provide new information on IR risks in children to the medical community.
The topic is part of IRSN's program axis dedicated to the study of the biological and health effects of ionizing radiation and will allow to answer the questions of the European strategic research agenda relating to the study of the risk of cancer associated with dose and dose rate, through epidemiological studies.
This post-doctoral request is part of the European project HARMONIC for which a 24 months funding has been obtained.
Human and material resources made available to the post-doctoral student
The post-doctoral student will be hosted in the IRSN epidemiology laboratory, in an office and will have all the necessary equipment to carry out his research work.
The candidate has a PhD in epidemiology or biostatistics.
He/she has a good training in the field of epidemiology. His/her work has allowed him/her to demonstrate his/her capacity to valorise the results of his/her research, either through the writing of scientific articles or through oral presentations in scientific conferences.
A good level of English is valuable in order to facilitate exchanges with European partners.
Estelle Rage - de Moissy.
To apply, send your CV and application letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Department of Radiation Oncology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
22 September 2022
Outstanding candidates are invited to apply for a medical physics postdoctoral research associate position in the Department of Radiation Oncology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In this two-year position, you will benefit from world-class resources and exceptional training in a top-ranked research environment while helping to advance treatment options for children with cancer.
The primary focus of this postdoctoral research associate position is on using Big Data analytics tools to improve treatment planning techniques in radiation therapy. We are especially interested in understanding the relation between physical radiation exposures and long-term biologic effects. Research aims include the following:
• Contribute to data infrastructure efforts by validating and applying automatic structure contouring pipelines, analyzing and curating databases of clinical dose distributions, and using good data practices
• Investigate optimal parameters of novel image-analysis and data-mining methods to better understand their robust application to pediatric treatment data
• Apply novel image analysis and data-mining methods to curated datasets to better understand radiation therapy outcomes of children with cancer
• Investigate ways in which artificial intelligence may contribute to improving outcomes models
St. Jude offers a collaborative research environment and exceptional support for scientific discovery. The successful candidate will work closely with the principal investigators, computational scientists, and students in the research group. The postdoctoral research associate will interact with radiation oncologists, information technology support staff, clinical therapy and physics staff, and clinical scientists. Research activities will include data collection, image analysis, dosimetry comparisons with treatment planning systems and Monte Carlo calculations, and report and manuscript preparation. Opportunities to gain clinical experience in proton and photon radiotherapy physics may be made available pending adequate research progress.
Resources and Equipment
As part of the Department of Radiation Oncology, the postdoctoral research associate will have access to abundant resources, including the world’s first proton therapy center with pencil-beam scanning technology that is designated solely for treating pediatric cancer, a detector-based spectral CT scanner, state-of-the-art 1.5T and 3T MR scanners, and a digital PET/CT scanner. The department also has a full suite of radiation oncology software, including Eclipse, RayStation, and Pinnacle treatment planning systems, MiM Maestro, and ProKnow analytics software.
Eligibility and How to Apply
Successful applicants will have a PhD or DSc degree in medical physics, biomedical engineering, radiological sciences, or other relevant engineering or physical sciences. The candidate should have excellent writing and speaking skills and strong knowledge and experience in analytical and scientific programming, with a preference for experience in MATLAB, Python, and/or C#.
Lydia J Wilson, PhD
Instructor, Department of Radiation Oncology
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN 38105
About St. Jude
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is one of the world’s premier research and treatment centers for pediatric cancer and childhood disease. St. Jude has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a top-ranked pediatric cancer hospital, by Fortune magazine as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” (for seven consecutive years), and by The Scientist as a top 10 “Best Places to Work in Academia” (for seven consecutive years). For more information, visit www.stjude.org.
About our Lab
Diversity & Inclusion are key to our lab’s success and we welcome people from all backgrounds and walks of life. St. Jude is an Equal Opportunity Employer and our lab members are people with different strengths, experiences, and backgrounds who share a passion for improving the lives of children with catastrophic diseases. Diversity includes not only race and gender identity, but also age, disability status, veteran status, sexual orientation, religion and many other parts of one’s identity. All our lab members’ points of view are key to our success.