Micro-CT dosimetry

SCK•CEN Mentor

Dabin Jérémie, jdabin@sckcen.be, +32 (0)14 33 27 67

Expert group

Research in Dosimetric Applications

SCK•CEN Co-mentor

De Saint-Hubert Marijke, mdsainth@sckcen.be, +32 (0)14 33 21 40


Micro-CT (µCT) imaging provides high-resolution anatomic information without being invasive. In addition, when used in combination with other imaging modalities such as positron emission tomography (µPET) and single-photon emission computed tomography (µSPECT), µCT also provides precious anatomical information. For all those reasons, µCT has become a common modality to image rodents in a large variety of preclinical studies. To cite only a few applications,  µCT has been used in rodents: to study the effects of stem cell treatment in bone healing; to follow the evolution of emphysema regions in the lungs; to monitor the cardiac function recovery after heart surgery; and to determine tumour volume in the liver or the kidneys.

However, one of the main limitations of µCT is the high radiation dose delivered to the animal. Indeed, due to the small dimensions of the anatomical structures to be imaged, relatively high photon fluence is used to achieve sufficient image quality. Exposure from a single examination might not be of concern, but the radiation dose cumulated over several examinations, as it is the case in longitudinal studies, may be as high as a few Gy. This is of concern since such exposure level may induce various physiological changes in the imaged rodents, and thus might influence the experimental outcomes of the preclinical studies.

Whereas considerable work has been dedicated to the characterisation of the dose delivered to patients during CT examinations, very little has been done for the dosimetry of µCT examinations. In fact, there are currently no dosimetric indicators common to all µCT manufacturers, in contrast with the CT dose index (CTDI) and the dose-length product (DLP) available on clinical CT machines. The development of common dosimetric indicators and their relation with organ dose estimates in µCT would allow an easier comparison of imaging systems and practices, and a better characterisation of the confounding effect of radiation exposure in preclinical studies.


This project aims at (1) reviewing the existing literature on dosimetry in µCT and (2) assessing the delivered organ doses by means of measurements. The project will be performed at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, within the unit "Research in dosimetric Application", in collaboration with the MoSAIC (Molecular Small Animal Imaging Center), the Laboratory of Experimental Radiotherapy of the KU Leuven and the University Hospital of Leuven (Universitair Ziekenhuis Leuven).

In detail, the work will consist of:
(1) A review of the existing literature on dosimetry in µCT:

  • Dose indicators and their use (for example, CTDI in phantom,…)
  • Organ dose evaluation

(2) The evaluation of – (organ) dose for different imaging protocols by means of measurements:

  • Comparison and characterisation of different measurement systems (pencil ionisation chamber, thermoluminescent dosimeters and optical fibres)
  • In vivo, post mortem or in phantom


The minimum diploma level of the candidate needs to be

Master of sciences , Master of sciences in engineering

The candidate needs to have a background in

Physics , Mathematics , Other