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Postdoctoral Fellow for the Project CLASSICA (Validating AI in Classifying Cancer in Real-Time Surgery) Penn State Dickinson Law (Carlisle, PA)

Pennsylvania State University

Job Description


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  • CURRENT PENN STATE STUDENT (not employed previously at the university) and seeking employment with Penn State, please login to Workday to complete the student application process . Please do not apply here, apply internally through Workday.

  • If you are NOT a current employee or student, please click “Apply” and complete the application process for external applicants .


Penn State Dickinson Law, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, invites applications for the position of a full-time Postdoctoral Fellow to support the multidisciplinary Project CLASSICA (Validating AI in Classifying Cancer in Real-Time Surgery). The Postdoctoral Fellow will report to and interact closely with Professor. Sara Gerke. The €6 million Horizon Europe project CLASSICA will deliver and clinically validate an AI-based clinical decision support system, which allows rapid identification of the presence and distribution of cancer tumors. Clinical validation of the technology will take place across five leading European cancer centers. Eleven partners from nine countries are joining forces to clinically validate this exciting AI technology.

The four-year project is led by Ronan Cahill, Professor of Surgery at University College Dublin and the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin. Alongside the University College Dublin-Mater surgical team, there are four other clinical sites: Amsterdam UMC, locatie Stichting VUmc, Netherlands; Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg Hospital, Belgium; University of Turin, Italy; and St John of God Hospital Graz, Austria. The team also includes IRCAD in Strasbourg, Europe’s leading surgical education organization, and the European Association of Endoscopic Surgery. Legal and ethical expertise is provided by Copenhagen University, Faculty of Law, Denmark, and Penn State Dickinson Law, U.S. Arctur in Slovenia contributes advanced AI and high-performance computing. Dublin-based Pintail Ltd will provide project management and administrative support throughout.

The aim of Work Package 8, co-led by Prof. Sara Gerke, Penn State Dickinson Law, U.S., and Prof. Timo Minssen, Copenhagen University, Faculty of Law, Denmark, is to explore legal, ethical, and liability questions raised by AI-assisted surgery, thereby addressing concerns surgeons may have to use such systems.

This Work Package will explore regulatory questions in the U.S. and Europe, such as data privacy and medical device regulation, as well as bias issues raised by AI-driven technologies in surgery. In particular, Penn State Dickinson Law will lead comparative research (U.S. and Europe) on the topic of liability in AI-assisted surgery and will conduct a focus group event with surgeons. Copenhagen University and Penn State Dickinson Law also plan to co-organize a stakeholder conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Specific duties of the Postdoctoral Fellow also include but are not limited to: 

  • Oversee the day-to-day work of Penn State Dickinson Law’s component of this collaborative project, including conducting law, policy, and ethics research; drafting reports and recommendations; collaborating with other initiatives and projects.

  • Coordinate efforts with collaborators at the Center for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law (CeBIL) at the University of Copenhagen as well as other CLASSICA partners.

  • Primarily be responsible for conducting research in CLASSICA’s Work Package 8 (Legal, Ethical & Liability).

  • Assign duties to ensure that Penn State Dickinson Law’s component of this collaborative project produces valuable deliverables in a timely manner.

  • Conduct law, policy, and ethics research related to AI-assisted surgery.

  • Conduct comparative research (U.S. and Europe) on legal, ethical, and liability questions raised by AI-assisted surgery, including video databanks.

  • Conduct research on topics of liability in medical AI, especially AI-assisted surgery, in the U.S. and Europe, such as analyzing new legal developments at the EU level and examining the liability landscape in the U.S.

  • Plan/conduct an empirical study (focus group with surgeons).

  • Coordinate efforts with collaborators at CeBIL at the University of Copenhagen as well as other partners.

  • Explore regulatory questions in the U.S. and Europe, such as data privacy and medical device regulation, as well as bias issues raised by AI-driven technologies in surgery, such as CLASSICA.

  • Conduct interdisciplinary research.

  • Develop manuscripts for co-authored publications to be placed, for example, in high-impact medical, scientific, bioethics, and legal journals.

  • Draft recommendations, reports (e.g., to the funder), blog posts, op-eds, etc.

  • Draft slides and presentation materials.

  • Plan and organize meetings, events, workshops, and conferences (virtually and in person).

  • Ensure grant and financial compliance, including all reporting.

  • Grant writing.

  • Provide social media publicity for CLASSICA initiatives.

  • Website maintenance concerning program work and projects.


Candidates must have a J.D., Ph.D., or an equivalent doctorate degree in an appropriate field. Candidates with outstanding academic credentials who are familiar with and/or have a strong interest in collaborative and interdisciplinary scholarship, comparative law (U.S. and Europe), health law, artificial intelligence, tort law, medical device law, and ethics. Experience in empirical studies (e.g., focus groups) and experience in grants/contracts are plus factors.


  • Exhibit excellent research, writing, and oral communication skills.

  • Have the ability to interact meaningfully, confidently, and effectively with professionals of all levels of experience and authority.

  • Possess strong organizational skills and be goal-oriented and self-motivated.

  • Able to work both independently and in a team, with weekly project status reports.

  • They must have the ability to complete tasks in a timely manner.

  • They also must be proficient in Microsoft Office applications, Zoom, and research tools, such as Westlaw, PubMed, and Lexis.


Penn State Dickinson Law invites applications for this full-time Postdoctoral Fellow position , expected to begin on September 1, 2022, or later.  

  • This is an appointment funded for one (1) year from the date of hire with the possibility of refunding.

  • All renewals are contingent upon available funding, satisfactory performance on the part of the Postdoctoral Fellow, and adherence to all University policies and professional standards of conduct.

  • Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.


  • This position is based in Carlisle, PA.

  • Apply online through the Penn State jobs website at https://hr.psu.edu/careers .

  • Submit a web application, cover letter, curriculum vitae, two writing samples, and a brief statement indicating how you demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

  • In your cover letter, we invite you to describe past or present activities or future aspirations, or a combination of these, including lived experience.

  • Describe how you see yourself contributing to the project’s success.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Candidates should be prepared to provide the names, titles, and contact information (telephone, email, and mailing address) of three (3) professional references, if requested. Candidates who advance in the search will be notified to confirm their provided references may be contacted. 

Employment will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies. Due to the financial and fiduciary responsibilities of this position, successful completion of a credit history check will be required in addition to standard background checks.

Please direct any questions to sgerke@psu.edu .


https://dickinsonlaw.psu.edu/team-including-dickinson-law-prof-sara-gerke-receives-eu6-million-eu-grant-research-ai-and-cancer , announcing the €6 million Horizon Europe project CLASSICA.


Dickinson Law strongly encourages people of color, women, and others who would enrich the diversity of our academic community to apply. To learn more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout the university, see Penn State Statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at http://equity.psu.edu/psu-diversity-statement .

The Pennsylvania State University is committed to and accountable for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of its forms. We embrace individual uniqueness, foster a culture of inclusive excellence that supports both broad and specific diversity initiatives, leverage the educational and institutional benefits of diversity, and engage all individuals to help them thrive. We value inclusive excellence as a core strength and an essential element of our public service mission.

This position is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the Health and Digital Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.


Pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act and the Pennsylvania Act of 1988, Penn State publishes a combined Annual Security and Annual Fire Safety Report (ASR). The ASR includes crime statistics and institutional policies concerning campus security, such as those concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. The ASR is available for review here .

Employment with the University will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies. 


Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applications without regards to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. If you are unable to use our online application process due to an impairment or disability, please contact 814-865-1473.

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