Research Engineer

BIBS Platform, BIA Laboratory, INRA Nantes, France

Development of methods for coupling images of MALDI Mass Spectrometry Imaging and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Context

The BIBS platform offers a number of analytical modalities that provide access to compositional and structural information on complex objects of biological origin at molecular, cellular and tissue scales. Among the methods newly implemented on the platform, MALDI mass spectrometry imaging enables the identification and localization of biomolecules at the micrometer scale, and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows access to the distribution and mobility of water at the scale of ten micrometers. The coupling of these two modalities makes it possible to envisage a more complete characterization of the studied objects. The exploitation and analysis of the data is limited by several technical locks. On the one hand, the high number of values associated with each mass spectrum complicates their interpretation. Indeed, the selection of the chemical species represented in MALDI imaging is conditioned by an a priori choice of the operator on the basis of his knowledge of the system under study. This approach does not exclude that another representation would better correlate with the images obtained in NMR. On the other hand, acquisition systems generate images with different resolutions and orientations. It is therefore necessary to implement statistical tools for multivariate data analysis as well as an image registration strategy to spatially map the information present in the images. The fusion of the information provided by these different imaging modalities should make it possible to obtain a much richer and more complete characterization than by each individual modality.

Objectives

The objective of the research engineer’s work is to develop image processing methods that will make better use of the information from the two imaging modalities, MALDI and MRI. The recruited engineer will develop 1) tools to better quantify and explore the information within each imaging modality, 2) image registration tools to superimpose the information obtained, and 3) multivariate statistical analysis methods to link and merge the localized quantitative data obtained. A first work will be to exploit the spectral dimension of mass spectrometry images and to choose the representation that maximizes the correlation with observations in NMR imaging.

The expected profile is a computer scientist, M2 or engineering school, with strong skills in applied mathematics. Experience in the development of image processing algorithms and in statistical analysis is desired. The mastery of Matlab would be a plus.

Working conditions

The recruited engineer will integrate the bioinformatics team of the BIBS platform, which develops the tools (algorithms and software) for analyzing the data generated by the platform.

The position is for a minimum of 12 months, starting in September 2018.

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