Available PhD projects - Health

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Chief Investigator Project title Project description Preferred educational background

Associate Professor Gail Robinson

gail.robinson@uq.edu.au

Conversational speech in ageing and dementia

The production of propositional language is uniquely human; it is central for communication. Propositional language is voluntary, spontaneous, novel to a context, and distinct from core spoken language skills (e.g., reading, naming, repeating). Prior to producing propositional language, the speaker must generate an idea or message for expression. This preverbal stage of message formulation represents the interface between broader cognition and language. The number of ideas contained in speech, or propositional density, has been suggested to be predictive of dementia later in life; however, evidence is sparse and largely observational.

There are few experimental studies addressing the relationship between cognition and critical mechanisms involved in spoken language and it therefore remains poorly understood. This project will investigate the mechanisms crucial for message formulation and producing propositional language in healthy and pathological ageing populations (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, parkinsonian disorders) in order to identify early indicators of decline that can be useful diagnostic markers.

The successful applicant will enrol through the School of Psychology.

Bachelor of psychological science or a Bachelor degree with a psychology major and honours is desirable or a student with a speech and language degree and strong statistical knowledge.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2020. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons. 

Professor Gita mishra

g.mishra@sph.uq.edu.au

Risk of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) in women across life stages

This project will undertake a systematic investigation into the associations of established and emerging risk factors at each stage of women’s lives (including early life, young adults, main reproductive stage, menopausal transition and later life) with NCD incidence (using both prevalence and age at onset of each NCD), including multimorbitdity.

Two scholarships are available - one for a domestic candidate and one for an international candidate. The project description above is a brief outline of what the project hopes to achieve. Supervisors will work with candidates to develop a PhD project that is in line with the candidate’s research interests and also fits within the overall scope of the wider project. 

The successful applicants will enrol through the Faculty of Medicine.

Public Health, Biostatistics, Life Course Epidemiology

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 2, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons. 

Dr Sarah Wallace

s.wallace3@uq.edu.au

MEASuRES: Driving quality improvement through Meaningful Evaluation of Aphasia SeRvicES

One scholarship is available for either of the following two topics:

1. MEASuRES: Driving quality improvement through Meaningful Evaluation of Aphasia SeRvicES

Despite the existence of a strong evidence-base for aphasia rehabilitation, people with post-stroke aphasia experience poor outcomes. Living with aphasia often means living with lifelong disability associated with social isolation, reduced employment, and an increased risk of depression. The translation of existing evidence to practice has the potential to improve outcomes for this population, however in Australia, there is no systematic means of determining whether the care provided by aphasia services is effective or meets consumer expectations. This project will use consensus methods to establish a minimum data set and core outcome measures for Australian aphasia services. The core set will be piloted in a prospective observational study to assess data quality and feasibility. This body of research represents the first steps in a broader plan to use routine data collection and data linkage to identify and address evidence-practice gaps in aphasia services. 

2. Development of a Measure of Processes of Care (MPOC) for aphasia rehabilitation services.

In addition to clinical measures of process and outcomes, the assessment of health service quality should incorporate the patient perspective. The patient experience is increasingly recognised as a pivotal aspect of health service evaluation. This project will use experience-based co-design methods to develop a patient-reported measure of processes of care (MPOC) in collaboration with people living with aphasia and clinicians who provide aphasia services.

The successful student will enrol through the School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences. 

This project would suit a candidate with a background in speech pathology / speech therapy.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 4, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons. 

 

Dr Xiang Li

x.li12@uq.edu.au

Functional role of a novel DNA modification in the adult brain

Emerging evidence indicates that DNA methylation is essential process involved in learning and memory process. The primary aim of this proposal is to understand how neuronal DNA is modified upon learning and how this impacts memory formation. The proposed research will combine different genome-wide sequencing approaches and molecular and cell biological assays to provide new insight into the functional role of a novel DNA modification in the adult brain, and help to shape a new way of thinking about gene-environment interactions.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Queensland Brain Institute.

Master’s degree in Molecular biology.

*This project is available December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Di Yu

di.yu@uq.edu.au

Follicular cytotoxic T cell differentiation and function in infection and B-cell lymphoma

Cytotoxic T cells eliminate infected or cancerous cells, constituting a major arm of the immune defence. In this study, we will investigate a
subset of cytotoxic T cells that particularly migrate into B cell follicles to control infection and malignancy. Understanding of the differentiation
and function of this subset, termed as follicular cytotoxic T (TFC) cells, will help us to develop new strategies to treat EBV and HIV infections
as well as B cell lymphomas.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Faculty of Medicine.

Biomedical Sciences

*This project is available October 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Annette Dobson

a.dobson@sph.uq.edu.au

Improving Australia's Dementia Statistics

Estimates of the numbers of people living and dying with dementia in Australia vary widely due to different methodologies. We will be working closely with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Bureau of Statistics on methods to produce more accurate and reliable data. The approach will be to combine data from multiple sources in the health and aged care sectors. We will examine the data quality and develop protocols for on-going production of national dementia statistics.

The successful applicant will be enrolled through the Faculty of Medicine.

Health statistics. Candidates will need a strong background in data science (specifically statistics and computer science) and applications in the health field. Experience with national or international statistical agencies would be desirable as this provides a whole-of-population perspective.

*This project is available October 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Jennifer Deuis

j.deuis@uq.edu.au

The role of ion channels in pain pathways

Chronic pain is the leading cause of disability in the developed world, and is more widespread than heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined. In Australia, one in five people live with chronic pain, and the prevalence of chronic pain is projected to increase further as Australia’s population ages. In 2007, the total economic cost of chronic pain in Australia was estimated at $34 billion, including costs associated with lost productivity and direct health care costs. The enormous socioeconomic cost of poorly relieved chronic pain provides a powerful rationale to increase our understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of pain. In recent years, ion channels have received attention as putative analgesic targets due to their crucial role in the generation of action potentials (electrical signals) in pain-sensing nerves. However, the precise role of specific ion channel isoforms in modality- and disease-specific pain pathways remains unclear. The aim of this project is to systematically define the functional role(s) and therapeutic potential of ion channel isoforms expressed in sensory neurons using pharmacological, electrophysiological and behavioural approaches.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Institute for Molecular Bioscience.

Pharmacology
Biomedical Science
Pharmacy
Medicine
 

*This project is available October 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Kwun Fong

Please contact Annette Dent

annette.dent@health.qld.gov.au

Volatile organic compounds in exhaled breath to diagnose lung disease

This project is intended to lead to the identification and development of non-invasive breath biomarkers for the diagnosis and management of lung disease. The ultimate long-term goal would be to develop a desk-top, convenient point of care test that could be used in the primary care as a stand-alone test or to complement other proven tests for reducing lung disease mortality.

The successful applicant will be enrolled through the Faculty of Medicine.

Minimum qualification of Bachelor of Science or equivalent with an honours in biomedical science.

*This project is available December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Maggy Lord

Please direct enquires to Tharanga Kariyawasam:

 

Development of a novel, rapid and non-invasive malaria diagnostic tool

Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue affect more than half of the world’s population. Mosquito control and accurate diagnosis is critical for managing outbreaks of these diseases. However, accurate diagnosis in many countries relies on molecular techniques which can be costly and time consuming. Over the last few years my team has been collecting data using alternative diagnostic techniques for these diseases. We are looking for a PhD student with experience and interest in machine learning to develop robust diagnostic models with our existing data.

The project is computer based and the successful applicant will be enrolled through the Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health.

The candidate should have a BSc Hons (or equivalent), majoring in machine learning or mathematical modelling

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Glenn King

glenn.king@imb.uq.edu.au

Virtuous cycles: a novel cyclic peptide approach to develop neuroprotective and cardioprotective drugs

Stroke and myocardial infarction (MI) are leading causes of death and disability in Australia. Although thrombolytic drugs can be administered pre- and post-hospital admission for MI and stroke, respectively, these drugs are designed to ameliorate the vascular occlusion rather than address the underlying tissue damage caused by the ischemic insult. This application is focussed on development of a new class of drugs that protect the heart and brain following MI and stroke.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Institute for Molecular Bioscience.

Honours or MSc degree  in the biological sciences, with a focus on protein and peptide  chemistry.

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Lisa Kaminskas

l.kaminskas@uq.edu.au

Understanding the kinetics of nanomaterial clearance from the healthy and diseased luings

We currently have a poor understanding of the biopharmaceutical behaviour of nanomedicines after inhaled administration and their safety in the lungs over repeated dosing.  This is concerning given that several inhalable nanomedicines are in late stage clinical trials. The overall goal of this project is to fill these gaps in knowledge using a range of commonly explored nanomaterials.

The successful applicant will be enrolled through the Faculty of Medicine.

  • Hons or masters in synthetic organic chemisty, specialising in polymer synthesis and nanomaterial formulation
  • A knowledge of  pharmacokinetics/ pharmacology is preferred.

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Vicki Flenady

vicki.flenady@mater.uq.edu.au

Assessing the impact of a stillbirth prevention bundle of care for improving best practice for women during pregnancy in Australia

In partnership with health departments across Australia, a bundle of care (Safe Baby Bundle) to address the priority evidence practice gaps in stillbirth preventionwill be developed and implemented nationally.

The goal is to reduce stillbirth rates after 28 weeks' gestation by 20%

The Safe Baby Bundle (SBB) has five elements addressing commonly identified evidence practice gaps.

This specific project is aligned with the fifth element of the SBB and will explore novel strategies to help translate best-evidence into practice for timing of birth for women with risk factors at or near term.

The successful applicant will be enrolled through the Faculty of Medicine.

  • Applicants should possess a Bachelor (H1 or H2A) with honours or a Masters Degree majoring in a Science related field.
  • Applicants must have a background in Public Health or Obstetrics or Midwifery

*This project is available until March 2020 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Merja Joensuu

m.joensuu@uq.edu.au

Professor Frederic Meunier

f.meunier@uq.edu.au

Super-resolution study on membrane trafficking

1. To study the effects of free fatty acids on membrane trafficking in neurons and neurosecretory cells

2.  Super-resolution study on the intoxification strategies of neurotoxins in neurons

The successful applicant will enrol through the Queensland Brain Institute.

M.Phil or MSc on cell biology or neurobiology

*This project is available until October 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Robert Parton

r.parton@uq.edu.au

Structural and Functional Analysis of Plasma Membrane Microdomains in Health and Disease

Surface pits called caveolae have been linked to diseases such as muscular dystrophy and cancer. We have shown that caveolae can be disassembled in response to multiple stresses, releasing proteins called cavins into the cell. This project will examine how caveolae are disassembled and identify cavin-interacting components.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Institute for Molecular Bioscience.

BScHons in biological sciences

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Victor Anggono

v.anggono@uq.edu.au

Regulation of glutamate receptor dynamics in mammalian central neurons

This project aims to understand the molecular mechanisms of neuronal communication and how neurons modify their synaptic strength. The student will combine biochemical, molecular and cell biological techniques to provide mechanistic insights into the molecular processes that control glutamate receptor trafficking in the postsynaptic compartments.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Queensland Brain Institute.

Honours First Class or Masters by Research. 
A background in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Neuroscience or related disciplines would be advantageous.

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.
 

Professor Paul Alewood

Dr Christina Schroeder

Dr Markus Muttenthaler

m.muttenthaler@imb.uq.edu.au

Venom peptide drug discovery

Venoms comprise a highly complex cocktail of bioactive peptides evolved to paralyse prey and defend against predators. Homology of prey/predator receptors to human receptors render these venom peptides also active on human receptors and they have become a rich source for neurological tools and therapeutics. This project is involved in the discovery, synthesis and structure-activity relationship studies of these venom peptides with the goal to develop novel probes for neuroscientists as well as therapeutic drug leads.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Institute for Molecular Bioscience.

Chemistry
Chemical Biology
Bioinformatics
Pharmacology
 

*This project is available until October 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Leanne Sakzewski

l.sakzewski1@uq.edu.au

 

Novel rehabilitation to improve outcomes for children with cerebral palsy A number of projects are available across two funded NHMRC clinical trials:
  • Efficacy of intensive bimanual training on bimanual hand skills and goal attainment in children with bilateral cerebral palsy  
  • Efficacy of intensive lower extremity training on gross motor function, walking efficiency and mobility
  • The relationship between clinical outcomes and neuroplasticity following intensive upper and lower extremity training in children with bilateral cerebral palsy  
  • The relationship between capacity, participation and habitual physical activity in children with cerebral palsy  
The successful applicant will enrol through the Faculty of Medicine.

Occupational therapy or physiotherapy

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Associate Professor Ray Steptoe

r.steptoe@uq.edu.au

Targeting antigens to DC for tolerance induction in a humanised mouse model

This project will explore mechanisms of human immune cell development and or human immune cell function in rodents models carrying human immune systems.  Techniques and areas may include hematopoiesis, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, gene therapy, immunology and therapy of type 1 diabetes.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Faculty of Medicine.

BSc(Hons I) or MSc

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Associate Professor Ray Steptoe

r.steptoe@uq.edu.au

Reducing toxicity of protocols for human hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

This project will explore new, non-toxic approaches for bone marrow transplant in humans.  Techniques and areas may include hematopoiesis, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, gene therapy, immunology and therapy of type 1 diabetes.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Faculty of Medicine.

BSc(Hons I) or MSc

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Istvan Toth

i.toth@uq.edu.au

Development of new peptide based delivery system for GAS vaccine

Vaccines are the most effective intervention against infectious diseases. Classical whole organism based vaccination is not always effective and safe, while subunit-based vaccines are poorly immunogenic and need help of an adjuvant. However, many adjuvants are not effective immune stimulators or too toxic for human use.

Therefore, the aim for this project is to develop a novel delivery system with self-adjuvanting properties using unique peptide sequences which are able to self-assemble into nanoparticles. To examine the efficacy of this delivery system, the one or more peptide epitopes from group A streptococcal (GAS) M-protein will be conjugated to the synthesized delivery system to form a peptide-based subunit vaccine. The resulted constructs will be self-assembled to form nanoparticles as well as be incorporated into liposomes. These nanoparticles and liposomes will be examined towards their stability, toxicity, and ability to be recognized by antigen presenting cells in vitro. The most promising candidates will be evaluated in vivo for ability to induce humoral immune responses against GAS. Following initial screening of delivery systems second generation of self-assembled peptides will be generated and examined as vaccine delivery systems. Finally, challenge and opsonization experiments will be performed to determine the most effective delivery system.

The successful applicant will enrol through the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences.

Applicants must hold a 1st Class Honours degree for Masters degree (or equivalet in medicinal chemistry or related fields.

Undergraduate training in synthesis and characterisation of peptides, immunology and experience in work with animals is essential.

Additional background in production and characterisation of lipsomes and nanoparticles, while not essential, would be advantageous

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Stephen Mahler

S.Mahler@eng.uq.edu.au

Dr Christopher Howard

c.howard2@uq.edu.au

Development of novel bio-conjugation strategies for targeting polymeric nanomedicines for cancer imaging and diagnostics

This project will focus on the isolation, development and characterisation of novel antibodies and antibody-nanomaterial conjugates for application in diagnostics, imaging and therapy.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN).

Biochemistry, Protein/Antibody Engineering

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Julia Pagan

j.pagan@uq.edu.au

Regulation of cell proliferation and survival by the ubiquitin system

This proposal seeks to provide the foundation for understanding how the fundamental processes of cell division and cell death are controlled at the molecular level by ubiquitin ligase enzymes. It is anticipated that the completion of this work will lead to the identification of several new signalling pathways operating within the cell to control the degradation of proteins involved in cell proliferation, cell fitness, and cell death.

The successful applicant will enrol through the School of Biomedical Sciences.

Hon Class I
Biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, physiology, or related

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

 

Dr Nadeeka Dissanayaka

n.dissanayaka@uq.edu.au

Virtual Reality in Residential Aged Care

Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging field within residential aged care for the management of behavioural and psychological symptoms in residents. This project will develop and test a suit of VR applications in RAC facilities.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Faculty of Medicine.

A background in Psychology, design and virtual reality applications is desirable.

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Istvan Toth

i.toth@uq.edu.au

Development of new adjuvants and vaccine delivery systems

Vaccine is highly efficient medical intervention to prevent infectious diseases and reduce related morbidity and mortality worldwide.  Peptide vaccine are able to induce very specific and safe immune responses; however, the need to be administered with strong adjuvants. Adjuvants such as Lipid A are very efficient to stimulated humoral immunity against co-administered antigen. The same time Lipid A is very toxic. To overcome this issue, new analogues of lipid A are proposed here. Lipid A toxicity will be reduced by elimination of phosphate group from its structure and by replacement of lipidic moieties with special self-assembling peptides (similar to transmembrane fragments of proteins). Several derivatives will be synthesized and examined in vitro and in vivo towards inducing immune responses. Leading derivatives will be also examined as part of self-adjuvanting liposomal delivery system (anchoring to membrane in similar way as transmembrane fragment of protein). The sytem will be used to make new vaccine against Goup A Streptococcus.

The successful applicant will enrol through the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences.

Biological / medicinal chemistry

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor John Fraser

Contact Dr Jacky Suen

j.suen1@uq.edu.au

The Dead Heart Project – when is a ‘dead heart’ truly dead?

This project aims to improve the number and quality of donor hearts available for transplantation. This aim will be addressed by investigating an alternative donor heart storage device, and a new source of donor hearts.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Faculty of Medicine.

Biomedical science, physiology, molecular biology.

Professor Grant Montgomery

g.montgomery1@uq.edu.au

Shared genetics and functional mechanisms underlying female reproductive disorders and related diseases

The human endometrium plays a vital role in female fertility, embryo implantation, pregnancy and related diseases. Current studies integrate genetic, RNA-sequence and epigenetic data to understand how genetic variants control gene regulation and disease risk. The aim of this project is to integrate locally and externally accessible omic datasets to determine the genetic and epigenetic overlap between loci associated with endometrial gene regulation endometriosis, other female reproductive disorders such as ovarian cancer, and related diseases including melanoma. Overlap in genomic risk loci will be tested using recently developed statistical and computational genomics tools. Shared risk loci will be fine mapped to identify potential shared casual mechanisms.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Institute for Molecular Bioscience.

Students with a background in genomics, computational and statistical genetics and/or bioinformatics are encouraged to apply.

Dr Felicity Davis

f.davis@uq.edu.au

Identifying and exploiting novel pharmacological targets for breast cancer treatment

Breast cancers are made up of different types of cancer cells and not all cells contribute equally. A subset of cancer cells may be uniquely capable of driving tumour growth, rebuilding fatal tumours after therapy and establishing new tumours at distant sites. New therapies to inhibit the activity and survival of these cells will lead to better modes of treatment and accelerate progress toward ending breast cancer.

Students will enrol through the Faculty of Medicine.

Pharmacology, signal transduction, physiology, stem cells

Professor Zhi Ping Xu

gordonxu@uq.edu.au

What are key physicochemical properties of nanomaterials determining their disposal by liver cells?

This project aims to understand how  nanomaterials in the body are handled by the liver, and have what adverse effects in naïve and modified livers in relation to nanomaterial’s defined attributes (size, shape, charge and deformability) using state-of-the-art chemistry, imaging and biological methods.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN).

Engineering, Health

Professor Michael Roberts

m.roberts@uq.edu.au

Physiologically-based pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of therapeutic stem cells for liver disease

Time course and targeting of stem cells to damaged livers as a result of liver disease.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Faculty of Medicine.

Background in science, medicine, pharmacy or related field with an interest in biochemistry, physiology, and possibly mathematical modelling

Dr Gabriel Cuellar Partida

g.cuellarpartida@uq.edu.au

Development of bioinformatics methods and applications aimed at dissecting the basis of complex traits and diseases

The aim of this project is to develop bioinformatics methods that integrate genotypic, DNA methylation and gene expression data to investigate the role of genomic imprinting on complex traits and disease.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Faculty of Medicine.

Bioinformatics, Software engineering, Genetics, Statistics, Epidemiology

Professor David Evans

d.evans1@uq.edu.au

Using Statistical Techniques in Genetic Epidemiology to Investigate the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD)

There is a well-documented observational relationship between low birthweight infants and increased risk of disease in later life (e.g. type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and many more). This inverse association was initially interpreted as resulting from developmental compensations to an adverse intrauterine environment, which in turn led to long-term changes to offspring physiology and increased susceptibility to disease. This theory was christened the “Developmental Origins of Health and Disease” (DOHaD) and has been one of the preeminent paradigms in life-course epidemiology over the last thirty years. The aim of this project is to investigate the DOHaD hypothesis using a variety of statistical techniques including genome-wide association, Mendelian randomization and G-REML approaches in large scale datasets such as the UK Biobank Study.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Faculty of Medicine.

Epidemiology, Statistics, Genetics, Psychology

*This project is available until June 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Andrew Brooks

a.brooks@uq.edu.au

HLA-G/H2-Bl is Critical for Regulating Inflammation in the Liver

The key factor to induction of liver fibrosis, progression to cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma is inflammation. Liver transplant and liver regeneration following liver resection are also dramatically impaired by elevation of inflammation. We have identified a potent anti-inflammatory protein, HLA-G, that is critical for regulating post-surgical inflammation in the liver. We will determine if HLA-G can reverse and/or block liver fibrosis and modify HLA-G for improved clinical potential.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Faculty of Medicine.

Molecular Biology, animal handling and surgery, immunology.

Dr Luke Kelly

l.kelly3@uq.edu.au

Optimising the spring in your step to enhance running performance

This project is part of an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Sport and Asics. This project will incorporate the use of novel musculoskeletal imaging, biomechanical and neurophysiological research tools to explore ways to augment / enhance the function of the human foot during running, with specific emphasis on the plantar fascia. This research will have direct implications for management of running injury and athletic performance.

The successful applicant will enrol through the School of Human Movement & Nutrition Sciences.

Exceptional candidates with a background in Exercise SciencePhysiotherapy, PodiatryBio/mechanical Engineering or related disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Dr Lin Luo

l.luo@imb.uq.edu.au

Controlling inflammation in chronic disease

Macrophages are regarded as ‘guardian immune cells’ functioning at the front line of innate immunity. By secreting an array of cytokines, macrophages also control inflammation throughout the body. However, in a wide variety of common diseases, including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and many others, inflammation is ‘out of control’. New ways to curtail macrophage function and inflammatory cytokines are urgently needed. As part of University of Queensland (UQ)/ Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s Centre for Inflammatory and Disease Research, we have identified a selective regulator of inflammatory responses, a protein called SCIMP. 

In this project, the roles of SCIMP and its effectors, in Toll-like receptor-driven inflammation will be investigated. This research will entail multiple approaches including proteomics, structural biology, protein biochemistry and cell imaging, and applicants ideally will have completed courses or training in immunology, cell biology and/or biochemistry. 

The successful applicant will enrol through the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB).

Applicants ideally will have completed courses or training in immunology, cell biology and/or biochemistry.

Dr Christina Schoeder

c.schroeder@imb.uq.edu.au

The potential of membranes – peptide engineering to modulate ion channels

Naturally derived disulfide-rich peptides interact with a range of human ion channels and receptors as agonists and antagonists and have been shown to be important and useful drug leads and research tools. This program focuses on the discovery of new molecules targeting these channels as well as understanding the mechanistic details behind the peptide-receptor interactions in order to engineer more potent and selective peptides to modulate the activity of therapeutically relevant ion channels and receptors. 

The successful applicant will enrol through the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB).

  • organic/medicinal chemistry
  • peptide chemistry
  • chemical biology
  • pharmacology

*This project is available until October 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Dr Nathan Palpant

n.palpant@uq.edu.au

Stem cells and cardiovascular development

This project utilizes genomics data coupled with CRISPR gene editing and human pluripotent stem cells to identify novel mechanisms that underlie differentiation into the cardiovascular lineage.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB).

  • Cell biology
  • Cardiovascular development
  • Genetics

Dr Nathan Palpant

n.palpant@uq.edu.au

Identifying genetic determinants of cardiovascular development and disease

This project will utilize and develop computational genomics tools for analysis of single cell RNA-sequencing data to identify novel genetic mechanisms underlying cardiac development and disease.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB).

  • Computational and statistical genetics 
  • Bioinformatics

Professor Jenny Stow

j.stow@imb.uq.edu.au

Big data image analysis and advanced cell imaging

Two related projects:

  1. Developing machine learning algorithms for analysis of big image data sets.
  2. Advanced laser imaging of live cells expressing fluorescnt proteins to study cell behaviour, mostly in immune cells.

The successful applicant will enrol through the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB).

  1. Mathematics/bioinformatics/computing
  2. Cell biology/ physiology/immunology/ microscopy