Launch your research career

These scholarships are funded by the Commonwealth Government to provide assistance for living costs to domestic students during completion of a PhD. Scholarships are offered for projects which are aligned with recently awarded Category 1 project grants. Work with leading researchers, and learn to conduct research independently and think critically, while contributing to large projects of national significance. 

Scholarship value: Living allowance of $26,682 per annum (2017 rate), indexed annually. Tuition fees do not apply.

Closing date: As these scholarships are offered in responsive mode, there is no closing date.

Commencement: Enrolment in the PhD program is in research quarters and commencement in a research quarter is fixed to a specific period. Recipients of these scholarships may commence in any research quarter.

Eligibility and how to apply

View details of available projects below.

School of Education

Chief Investigator

Grant type

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Professor Bob Lingard

r.lingard@uq.edu.au

 

ARC
Discovery

The Commercial Provision of Schooling and its Implications for Australia

The integration of public schooling and corporate investment has become relatively commonplace around the world, yet there is no academic research on how this phenomenon could impact Australia. The aim of this project is to identify modes of private provision of schooling around the globe and the policy networks and changing forms and practices of the state that facilitate this provision. The project will provide new knowledge on how private provision of schooling is creating new relationships between governments and private companies and the implications of this commercial provision for equitable and democratic schooling in Australia.  There has been no academic research on the likely impacts of private provision of schooling in Australia. This project will identify enabling conditions for, and possible effects of, private provision of schooling. This will benefit policymakers and education advocacy groups. The project contributes to the fields of comparative education and policy studies through applying multi-modal methodologies to study, and generates empirical knowledge of, new forms of commercialisation in education.

Interest in one or more of the following areas in relation to education: Economics, Legislative frameworks, sociology, policy, forensic accounting, statistics, comparative analysis

School of Social Science

Chief Investigator Grant type Project title Project description Preferred educational background

Associate Professor Paul Henman

p.henman@uq.edu.au

ARC Discovery Government Web Portals as New Government Actors Government web portals provide the entryway to online government, yet their effectiveness and role in contemporary government is unknown. This study examines the architectures, rationales, effectiveness and power effects of government web portals. The study uses new digital research methods (hyperlink network analysis and web experiments) to comparatively assess 10 hi-tech countries. Multidisciplinary. Social studies of technology; public administration; media and communications; computer science.

Dr Tiina Manne

t.manne@uq.edu.au

ARC DECRA 50,000 years of human subsistence behaviour in northern Australia Characterisation of damage to animal bone through experimental research, followed by application of this data to several archaeological bone assemblages. BSc Hon in archaeology and zoology/biology

 

School of Earth & Environmental Sciences

Chief Investigator Grant type Project title Project description Preferred educational background

Associate Professor Yan Liu

yan.liu@uq.edu.au

ARC Discovery New approaches to modelling human-environment interactions for sustainable coastal city development

This project aims to model sustainable development options of low-lying coastal cities under rapid population growth, climate change and intensive human activity. Using Brisbane (Australia) and Ningbo (China) as case studies, the project will empirically test and understand how cities grow as complex systems built out of the interactions between humans and their living environment at the individual scale and in a cross-jurisdictional context. The project expects to offer a spatially explicit understanding of the development of coastal cities and science-based decision tools to improve policy-making.

PhD project 1: Modelling human-environment interactions: Testing irregular CA and 3D urban models. This PhD project will develop and test an irregular CA model to align with land cadastre boundaries, and a 3D CA model structure to account for the vertical growth of cities.

PhD project 2: Modelling human-environment interactions: A cross-cultural comparison. The project will focus on developing applications of the CA-ABM in a coastal city in China, and comparing the modelling approach, performance, and outcomes under different cultural, policy and institutional settings.

GIS; Human geography; Urban studies/planning; Geoinfomatics; or other relevant field.

Dr Aude Bernard

a.bernard@uq.edu.au

ARC DECRA Understanding the long-term decline in internal migration Internal migration rates have declined continuously since the 1970s in most advanced economies, including Australia. This decline in human mobility has potentially profound implications for the functioning of the economy and for individuals’ aspirations, but remains poorly recognised and understood. This project aims to establish the onset and pace of the migration decline for a global sample of countries. It also seeks to identify the causes of this change by identifying linkages between the drop in migration rates and the broader socio-demographic transitions of the past 30 years in countries of interest to PhD students involved in this project. Social science, economics, geography, sociology, demography.

Dr Talitha Santini

t.santini@uq.edu.au

ARC Linkage From tailings to soil: in situ remediation in mine site rehabilitation

PhD project 1: Tailings are geochemically dynamic materials at extremes of pH and salinity. Their unusual geochemistry and mineralogy pose major challenges for geochemical modelling and prediction of weathering behaviour. This project focusses on improving understanding of trace element geochemistry and zeolite mineralogy at alkaline pH, and characterising speciation and mobility of trace elements and zeolite mineral reactivity as pH decreases. This information will expand current geochemical models and improve their accuracy in predicting weathering behaviour. Techniques including X-ray absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy, Rietveld refinement, and electron microscopy will be used to map the distribution and speciation of trace elements during tailings remediation.

The ideal candidate will have a Bachelors or Masters degree in Chemistry or Environmental Science, with previous experience in quantitative mineralogy or trace element geochemistry.

PhD project 2: Tailings and mine wastes typically host low diversity, low biomass microbial communities without targeted remediation, posing a major barrier to development of a functional, healthy soil. Opportunities also exist to engineer microbial communities to play active roles in achieving remediation goals. This project will evaluate microbially-based strategies for tailings remediation in combination with traditional chemical and physical approaches, as well as primary succession and development of functional capacity in microbial communities in tailings. Microbiological techniques will be coupled with geochemical and mineralogical analyses to build a comprehensive understanding of how microbial communities contribute to geochemical and physical transformations in tailings. The ideal candidate will have a Bachelors or Masters degree in Microbiology or Environmental Science, with previous experience in mining environments.
PhD project 3: As a result of the physical and chemical processes used during minerals extraction, tailings are usually fine-grained, structureless materials deposited into large scale field storage facilities at high water content. The high sodicity and extreme pH of most tailings materials exacerbate these physical challenges to prevent development of stable structure. This project focusses on combining novel, microbially-driven approaches based on extracellular polysaccharide production with standard chemical and physical approaches for promoting formation of stable aggregates in tailings, and modelling and understanding the impacts of structure development on hydrology and aeration. The  ideal candidate will have a Bachelors or Masters degree in Geotechnical, Civil, or Environmental Engineering, with previous experience in hydrological and/or geochemical modelling, or geotechnical characterisation.

Professor Jonathan Corcoran

jj.corcoran@uq.edu.au

ARC Linkage Reclaiming lost ground: Transitions of mobility and parking

Car mobility and immobility (i.e. parking) are persistent urban problems. Considering new transitions and trends in land-use and transport, including car-sharing and automated vehicles, and the revival of urban living, important questions arise concerning the redesign and reuse of urban space. Policy-makers need a new evidence base and toolkit to determine how best to repurpose the space currently dedicated to accommodating private motor vehicles to make cities more attractive, efficient and liveable places. This project’s overall aim is to understand the role of parking in mobility, urban consolidation, and transit-oriented development. Does parking supply affect travel demand, car ownership, and ultimately the quality of urban life?

A background in urban planning or human geography, preferably with some training in spatial data and analysis.

 

School of Mathematics & Physics

Chief Investigator Grant type Project title Project description Preferred educational background

Dr Jacqui Romero

m.romero@uq.edu.au

ARC DECRA Knowledge, Ignorance, and Security in Higher-dimensional Quantum Systems In quantum physics, the best possible knowledge of a whole does not include the best possible knowledge of the parts-- not knowing any of the letters of a word does not imply not knowing what the word is. In this project, we will exploit the high-dimensional transverse spatial modes of photon to experimentally show that the converse is also true: not knowing the word does not imply not knowing any of the letters. This counter-intuitive notion is unique to higher-dimensional systems, and impacts the security of quantum cryptography. Honours/Masters in Physics, preferably with experience in experimental optics

Dr Ebinazar Namdas

e.namdas@uq.edu.au

AISRF Grant Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs)

Positions are available for PhD students to work on the Commonwealth supported project in developing a new class of lighting technology based on organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs). The research is interdisciplinary and the candidates will work closely with world-class researchers in physics and chemistry and gain a first class postgraduate education at the state-of-the-art research centre, (http://www.physics.uq.edu.au/cope/node/2).

Applicants should have first class Honours degree in a scientific discipline that is relevant to the project, including Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering.

1st class Honours degree or equivalent degree in Physics or Engineering with skills and experiences in condense matter physics/semiconductors/optics 

AISRF Grant

Organic photo-detectors (OPDs)

Positions are available for PhD students to work on the  Commonwealth supported project in developing a new class of photo-detectors based on organic semiconductors.  research is interdisciplinary and the candidates will work closely with world-class researchers in physics and chemistry and gain a first class postgraduate education at the state-of-the-art research centre, (http://www.physics.uq.edu.au/cope/node/2).

Applicants should have first class Honours degree in a scientific discipline that is relevant to the project, including Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering.
1st class Honours degree or equivalent degree in Physics or Engineering with skills and experiences in condense matter physics/semiconductors/optics
AISRF Grant

Spectroscopy of light emitting semiconductor materials

Positions are available for PhD students to work spectroscopy of light emitting organic semiconducting materials. The candidate will work closely with world-class researchers in physics and chemistry and gain a first class postgraduate education at the state-of-the-art research centre, (http://www.physics.uq.edu.au/cope/node/2).

Applicants should have first class honours degree in a scientific discipline that is relevant to the project, including Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering.
1st class Honours degree or equivalent degree in Physics or Physical Chemistry with skills and experiences spectroscopy and optics

Dr. S.-C. Lo

s.lo@uq.edu.au
AISRF Grant

Synthesis of organic light-emitting materials

Positions are available for PhD candidates to work on a project supported by the Commonwealth in developing new classes of organic light-emitting materials for solid lighting. The research is interdisciplinary and the candidates will work closely with world-class researchers in physics and chemistry and gain a first class postgraduate education at the state-of-the-art research centre, (http://www.physics.uq.edu.au/cope/node/2).

Applicants should have first class Honours degree in chemistry that is relevant to the project, including organic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, physical chemistry and material chemistry.
1st class Honours (or equivalent) degree in Chemistry with excellent skills and experiences in organic synthesis and characterisation
AISRF Grant

Synthesis of organic photo-detector materials

Positions are available for PhD candidates to work on a project supported by the Commonwealth in developing new classes of organic light absorbers for photo-detectors. The research is interdisciplinary and the candidates will work closely with world-class researchers in physics and chemistry and gain a first class postgraduate education at the state-of-the-art research centre, (http://www.physics.uq.edu.au/cope/node/2).

Applicants should have first class Honours degree in chemistry that is relevant to the project, including organic, organometallic, physical and material chemistry.
1st class Honours (or equivalent) degree in Chemistry with excellent skills and experiences in organic synthesis and characterisation

Dr Elizabeth Krenske

e.krenske@uq.edu.au

AISRF Grant

Computational Chemistry

Positions are available for PhD students to work on the Commonwealth supported project in developing new classes of light-emitting and light-absorbing materials for use in lighting technology and photo-detectors. The research involves computational modelling of the properties of new materials, and the use of theoretical techniques to model chemical reactivity. The candidates will work closely with world-class researchers in chemistry and physics and gain a first class postgraduate education associated with the state-of-the-art research centre, (http://www.physics.uq.edu.au/cope/node/2).

Applicants should have first class Honours degree in chemistry that is relevant to the project, including organic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, and physical chemistry. It is desirable, although not essential, for applicants to have experience in computational chemistry, e.g. density functional theory calculations.
1st class Honours (or equivalent) degree in Chemistry with excellent skills and experiences in organic chemistry and/or computational chemistry

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation

Chief Investigator Grant type Project title Project description Preferred educational background

Dr Lee Hickey

l.hickey@uq.edu.au

ARC DECRA Accelerated genomic selection to speed up genetic gain in wheat This project aims to design drought-resistant crops. Since the Green Revolution, rates of genetic gain for wheat yield have begun to plateau, while climate change threatens productivity and global food security. Numerous breeding technologies have emerged, including genomic selection, speed breeding, high-throughput phenotyping and crop modelling. This project will develop and validate crop improvement protocols by fusing these four technologies. More efficient breeding techniques could accelerate genetic gain in wheat beyond what is expected in ongoing breeding programs, and enable breeders to develop robust cereal varieties in the face of climate change. A background in either genetics or plant biology is required, and a good understanding of statistics is desirable.

Dr Tim O'Hare

t.ohare@uq.edu.au

HIA (Horticulture Innovation Australia) Naturally Nutritious This project explores the development of selected nutritionally-biofortified fruit, vegetable and nuts, identifying limitations and potential of increasing targeted phytonutrients.  Biofortification harnesses the plant’s potential (genetic or otherwise) to optimise synthesis and storage of phytonutrients necessary for human health. The project overlaps several fields including plant genetics, biochemistry, biology, human nutrition. Top-up scholarships are potentially available for up to four applicants. Plant biochemistry
Plant physiology
Plant molecular biology

Queensland Brain Institute

Chief Investigator Grant type Project title Project description Preferred educational background

Professor Geoff Goodhill

g.goodhill@uq.edu.au

ARC Advanced statistical methods for analysing maps in the visual brain This project will provide new and powerful statistical tools for analysing data from brain imaging experiments. This improved approach will yield important new information about normal brain structure, the development of brain structure, and how brain structure is affected by altered sensory experience. Maths/physics/engineering
NHMRC How are axons guided to their targets in the developing nervous system? For the brain to function correctly it must be wired correctly. Axon guidance occurs primarily via the sensing of molecular cues in the environment, and a critical mechanism by which such cues are believed to act is via concentration gradients. However we do not have a quantitative understanding of how axons actually respond to concentration gradients. To address this problem we will first use novel microfluidics technologies to create precisely controlled molecular gradients in vitro, measure axon trajectories over long periods of time as gradient parameters are systematically varied, and develop computational models to quantitatively explain the key properties of these trajectories. Second, we will computationally model the spatiotemporal distribution of guidance cues believed to steer axons in two paradigmatic model systems, the development of the corpus callosum and of thalamocortical connections. Maths/physics/engineering/neuroscience

Associate Professor Ethan Scott

ethan.scott@uq.edu.au

ARC Discovery Neural mechanisms of vestibular perception in zebrafish The vestibular system allows us to perceive gravity and movement, but we do not have a thorough understanding of how the brain processes information from vestibular sensors in our inner ears. This project proposes a novel preparation in the zebrafish model for exerting forces on the inner ear with a laser, thereby stimulating the vestibular sense. Critically, this means that the animal will experience vestibular stimuli while it is stationary. This will allow calcium imaging of neurons that respond to vestibular cues, and the use of optogenetics to stimulate or silence these neurons. This will reveal just what cells and circuits mediate vestibular perception, processing, and behaviour in a way that has been previously impossible. Optical Physics, Bioinformatics, or Neuroscience

Associate Professor Margie Wright

margie.wright@uq.edu.au 

NHMRC Neurodevelopment during Adolescence: A Longitudinal Imaging Study Adolescence is a risk period for the emergence of psychiatric disorders. The onset of these disorders during the critical period of adolescence coincides with when the brain is changing rapidly. This project uses imaging to track developmental changes in the brain through adolescence in a large sample of twins.  Concurrent assessments of cognition, social behaviour, and mental health, as well as genetic information is integrated with the imaging data. This work will provide new knowledge about the role of genotype and environment on normal brain development in adolescence, and an understanding on how neurodevelopmental processes go awry and contribute to psychopathology. The project will interest students who want to study human brain development, as well as adolescent depression or related and co-occuring problems from a developmental psychopathology perspective Psychology/ Cognitive Neuroscience/ NeuroImaging/ Quantitative Genetics/ Translational Neuroscience/ Psychiatry

 

School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences

Chief Investigator Grant type Project title Project description Preferred educational background

Dr Luke Kelly

l.kelly3@uq.edu.au

NHMRC ECF Sensorimotor control of foot function: Adapting the mechanical function of the foot to optimise balance and gait performance This research will examine how the brain and spinal cord integrate sensory feedback to tune foot muscle activation in response to loading and balance challenges. This research will incorporate advanced neurophysiological and biomechanical research tools to gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of the foot in balance and locomotion. Findings from this research will be used to directly inform strategies for enhancing foot function and ultimately reducing injury and pain in this important part of the body. Exceptional candidates with a background in Exercise Sciences (Exercise Physiology, Sport & Exercise Science), Clinical Sciences (Physiotherapy, Podiatry) or related disciplines are encouraged to apply.
ARC Linkage 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. Exceptional candidates with a background in Exercise Science, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Bio/mechanical Engineering or related disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Associate Professor Timothy Carroll

timothy.carroll@uq.edu.au

ARC DP A common sub-cortical system for human eye and limb control? - 1
The capacity to produce fast and accurate visually-guided movement was crucial for survival long before animals evolved a cerebral cortex, suggesting that basic control systems may be conserved across species. This project will test the extent to which the human brain controls reaching movements via structures and control mechanisms known to be used for rapid eye movements, and for prey capture by lower vertebrates such fish. The notion that complex, human limb movements can be controlled by primitive subcortical systems challenges conventional thinking about movement-related brain activity, and therefore has important implications for the design of human-machine interfaces and training protocols in rehabilitation, industry and sport.
 
The project involves experiments in humans using non-invasive brain stimulation, and measurements of eye and limb movements in response to precisely controlled visual and auditory stimuli. It will provide opportunities to develop expertise in electrophysiology, motion capture and coding for electronic device control and data analysis.
Neuroscience, Exercise Science, Neurophysiology, Medicine, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Engineering.
ARC DP A common sub-cortical system for human eye and limb control? -2
The capacity to produce fast and accurate visually-guided movement was crucial for survival long before animals evolved a cerebral cortex, suggesting that basic control systems may be conserved across species. This project will test the extent to which the human brain controls reaching movements via structures and control mechanisms known to be used for rapid eye movements, and for prey capture by lower vertebrates such fish. The notion that complex, human limb movements can be controlled by primitive subcortical systems challenges conventional thinking about movement-related brain activity, and therefore has important implications for the design of human-machine interfaces and training protocols in rehabilitation, industry and sport.
 
The project involves experiments in humans using non-invasive brain stimulation, and measurements of eye and limb movements in response to precisely controlled visual and auditory stimuli. It will provide opportunities to develop expertise in electrophysiology, motion capture and coding for electronic device control and data analysis.
Neuroscience, Exercise Science, Neurophysiology, Medicine, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Engineering.

 

School of Languages and Cultures

Chief Investigator Grant type Project title Project description Preferred educational background

Dr Annie Pohlman

a.pohlman@uq.edu.au

ARC DECRA How does torture become normal? Indonesia’s New Order regime, 1965-1998

This project aims to find out how torture became normal under the New Order military regime in Indonesia (1965 – 1998). By mapping the experiences of men, women and children, the research will investigate when, how and in which contexts torture was perpetrated, in order to map the historical spread and evolution of torture.

Potential PhD projects would focus on one of a range of in-depth case studies on torture and other grievous human rights abuses during particular periods or in selected locations, such as:

  • The ‘Petrus’ murders (mysterious killings/shootings) of suspected criminals during the early-to-mid 1980s;
  • Torture and ill-treatment against detainees held for criminal offences throughout the New Order;
  • Interrogation of political and criminal suspects under the Indonesian occupation of Timor Leste (1975–1999); 
  • Interrogation of political and criminal suspects in Aceh, particularly during the DOM (military operation region) periods of the 1980s and 1990s.

Indonesian studies or any of the following: Southeast Asian history/ human rights/ international relations/ history/ law.

Requires reasonably advanced Indonesian language skills; Tetum language skills an advantage (but not required) for a Timor Leste-based project. 

Previous study or time spent in Indonesia an advantage.

 

Faculty of Medicine

Chief Investigator Grant type Project title Project description Preferred educational background

Associate Professor Michelle Hill

m.hill2@uq.edu.au

ARC Discovery Control of selective microRNA release via exosomes and microvesicles This project aims to understand the fundamental mechanisms regulating the selective loading of microRNA (miRNA) to extracellular vesicles (exosomes and microvesicles) to effect cell-to-cell communication. Biochemistry, Biomedical Science
ARC Linkage Rapid functional and taxonomic skin microbe characterisation This multi-disciplinary project aims characterise human skin microbes using a broad range of molecular techniques including FT-IR spectroscopy for rapid taxonomic identification, mass spectrometry for microbial metabolite identification and proteomics analysis, also proteomics and RNA sequencing to monitor response of skin cells to microbial products. Biochemistry, Chemistry, Microbiology, Bioinformatics 

Associate Professor Ethan Scott

ethan.scott@uq.edu.au

ARC Discovery Neural mechanisms of vestibular perception in zebrafish

The vestibular system allows us to perceive gravity and movement, but we do not have a thorough understanding of how the brain processes information from vestibular sensors in our inner ears. This project proposes a novel preparation in the zebrafish model for exerting forces on the inner ear with a laser, thereby stimulating the vestibular sense. Critically, this means that the animal will experience vestibular stimuli while it is stationary. This will allow calcium imaging of neurons that respond to vestibular cues, and the use of optogenetics to stimulate or silence these neurons. This will reveal just what cells and circuits mediate vestibular perception, processing, and behaviour in a way that has been previously impossible.

Optical Physics, Bioinformatics, or Neuroscience

Professor Mike Bennett

m.bennett@uq.edu.au

 

ARC Discovery Project

Contemporary and retrospective genomic analyses of tiger and white sharks

 

The tiger shark and white shark are two highly charismatic apex oceanic predators, and are species with important social, biological and economic significance within Australia and around the globe. However, the spatial and temporal dimensions of their demographies are poorly known. By conducting detailed genomic analyses on both living and long-dead specimens we will gain valuable insight into the biology of both species and provide information for conservation and management purposes.

Potential PhD student requires Bachelor degree in Marine Science (with honours) plus training and experience in bioinformatics.

Associate Professor Trent Woodruff

t.woodruff@uq.edu.au

 

NHMRC Development

Discovery of new innate immune therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease

This project will develop and test novel therapeutics targeting the innate immune system to block inflammation. It will also progress these compounds into early preclinical animal testing regimes in models of neurological disease.

Background in pharmacology/ pharmacokinetics or drug discovery

NHMRC Project

Therapeutic blockade of neuroinflammation for the treatment of motor neuron disease

This project will test the efficacy of novel drugs target innate immune-mediated neuroinflammation in mouse models of motor neuron disease (MND). It will also identify mechanistic activity using in vitro neuron/glia cultures and clinical validation using MND patient ex vivo samples.

Background in pharmacology or neuroscience research

Dr Jana Vukovic

j.vukovic@uq.edu.au

NHMRC Project

Understanding the role of microglia as regulators of adult neurogenesis in the intact, injured and ageing brain

The hippocampus is one of the primary brain structures critical for learning and memory. The continuous and regulated production of new neurons – adult neurogenesis – in this part of the brain is believed to underpin some of the hippocampal-based cognitive functions. These newborn neurons are produced from a pool of neural precursor/stem cells, and we have previously shown that microglia (the resident immune cells) play a key role in this process although the mechanisms behind this remain poorly understood. The project will investigate the role of microglia as regulators of adult neurogenesis following traumatic brain injury and during ageing, and the implications of this for behavioural outcomes.

Molecular biology / Immunology / Neuroscience

Dr David Simmons

d.simmons@uq.edu.au

NHMRC Project

Novel regulators of placental trophoblast cell-cell fusion: implications for preeclampsia

The cellular barrier separating

the placental circulation consists in large part of syncytiotrophoblast (STB) cells, a highly specialized multinucleated cell that mediates critical transport and endocrine functions. The health and function of the post-mitotic STB relies on the input of new material by fusion with underlying mononuclear progenitor cells, a process which is dysregulated in pregnancy complications such preeclampsia (PE). Our lab has identified a novel regulator of trophoblast cell-cell fusion, one which is also dysregulated in placentas complicated by PE. The current project aims to characterize this new pathway at the molecular level, using primary human cell cultures and transgenic mouse models.

The ideal candidate will have a BSc (Hons), with courses in cell biology, developmental biology and/or genetics. Previous experience with tissue culture and molecular biology methodologies a plus

Associate Professor Rohan Teasdale

r.teasdale@uq.edu.au

ARC Discovery Project

The role of SNX proteins in formation of endosome transport carriers

The spatial arrangement of proteins within a cell is of fundamental importance and impacts on all biological processes and pathways.  Membranes and proteins are in constant motion within cells and transport pathways control and direct this traffic flow. This flux of internalized and secreted material must be precisely coordinated and this is achieved through a common network of intracellular membrane-bound compartments, the endosomal system. Fidelity of transport through the endosomal system thus requires mechanisms that precisely sort cargoes for delivery to a range of different destinations. This is achieved by cargo engaging specific sorting machinery that is responsible for their accumulation into tubules that then undergo scission to generate endosome-transport carriers (ETCs). Overall this project will determine the contribution of individual sorting nexin proteins has on the formation of the distinct ETC types and to the sorting of a range of cargo actively transported by these vesicles. A detailed definition of these ETC’s at the molecular level will reveal the number of transport pathways emanating from endosomes to other organelles which represents the final membrane transport pathway yet to be fully described.

Cell Biology, Microscopy

Professor Chen Chen

chen.chen@uq.edu.au

NHMRC International Joint Calls Grant

Biomarkers of diabetic retinopathy

Using diabetic mouse models, we are looking for early biomarkers to predict diabetic retinopathy.  Pathophysiological roles of identified biomarkers will also be investigated.

BSc (Hon) in physiology, molecular biology or pathology.

Associate Professor Paul Dawson

paul.dawson@mater.uq.edu.au

NHMRC Project Genetics and pathology of fetal and neonatal sulphate deficiency This PhD project will investigate the genetics and pathophysiology of nutrient sulphate deficiency in human fetal and neonatal development. The project will incorporate clinical, biochemical, genetic and molecular biology approaches. Biomedical Science degree, preferably with Honours or equivalent research experience.

Associate Professor Coral Gartner

c.gartner@uq.edu.au

NHMRC Project

Clinical trial of nicotine vaporisers for smoking cessation among priority populations living with co-morbidities

This pragmatic, open-label randomised partial cross-over trial aims to evaluate if adding a nicotine maintenance intervention (a nicotine vaporiser) to standard quit support intervention improves quit rates for these populations and whether offering both interventions concurrently is more effective and cost-effective than offering the interventions sequentially.

Health and related fields such as Medicine, Public Health, Nursing, Psychology etc

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

Chief Investigator

Grant type

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Professor Yu Chengzhong

c.yu@uq.edu.au

ARC

A Nano-platform for Affordable and Ultra-sensitive Bio-marker Detection

This project aims to develop a next-generation nano-platform and device for ultra-sensitive detection of biomarkers.

Materials science or Chemistry

ARC

Nano-Pesticides for Animal Healthcare

This project will use state of the art nanotechnology to develop a new generation nano-pesticide with improved safety and performance. The nano-pesticide is expected to have enhanced efficacy and effective duration in field conditions compared to conventional pesticides, significantly reducing the cost of pest control.

Materials science, Chemistry or Pharmacy

Dr Run Zhang

r.zhang@uq.edu.au

ARC DECRA X-ray induced photoacoustic nanoprobe: Break depth dependency of bioimaging This project aims to develop a nanoprobe using an X-ray excited luminescence “nanolaser” as the local light source to activate coupled responsive photoacoustic sensors. In-situ imaging of specific biomarkers at the molecular level is key to understanding their roles in physiological and pathological processes, but current imaging techniques using fluorescent probes cannot detect biomarkers in deep tissues due to shallow light penetration. By capitalising on the tissue penetrating property of X-rays and acoustic waves and collecting acoustic waves as the read-out signal, real-time monitoring of biomarkers in deep tissues could be achieved, advancing detection technology for deep-tissue biomarkers. Chemistry and materials science, bio-nanotechnology

School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering

Chief Investigator

Grant type

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Dr Vincent Wheatley

v.wheatley@uq.edu.au

ARC

Acoustic loads on hypersonic vehicles

This project aims to understand how acoustic loads are generated in supersonic combustion ramjets (scramjets) to control sonic fatigue in reusable hypersonic vehicles. This knowledge promises to revolutionise flight by making space access more affordable than it is today. In this project an innovative methodology has been devised, using advanced experimental, theoretical and numerical techniques, to measure acoustic waves in scramjets for the first time. The intended outcomes include a new predictive simulation model that will enable the design of flight-weight reusable hypersonic vehicles. Benefits include reduced cost for access to space and the ability to design and develop advanced aerospace technology.

Mechanical and/or Aerospace Engineering

Professor Matt Dargusch

m.dargusch@uq.edu.au

ARC

ARC Research Hub for Advanced Manufacturing of Medical Devices

Development of antibacterial biodegradable alloys.

Mechanical, Materials or Biomedical engineering or science qualification in chemistry or materials

ARC

ARC Research Hub for Advanced Manufacturing of Medical Devices

Understanding the behaviour of medical devices in endovascular environments – modelling and experiment.

Mechanical, electrical or biomedical engineering

ARC

ARC Research Hub for Advanced Manufacturing of Medical Devices

Developing the smart-enough factory learning environment.

Mechanical, mechatronics, Electrical or manufacturing engineering

School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering

Chief Investigator

Grant type

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Dr Joel Carpenter

j.carpenter@uq.edu.au

ARC
Discovery

Control of light in space and time in multimode optical fibres

Controlling the way light propagates in space and time using digital holography.

Enabling applications such imaging deep into ‘opaque’ objects such as human skin or brain, high-power lasers for material processing and manufacturing, optical telecommunications, and quantum computation. Project includes industry collaboration with Nokia (Bell Labs) and Finisar, as well as University of Southampton.

Honours/Masters in Physics, Electrical Engineering or similar discipline. Strong programming skills desirable.

The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute

Chief Investigator

Grant type

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Associate Professor Antje Blumenthal

a.blumenthal@uq.edu.au

NHMRC

Project

Innate immune signalling in Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection

This project investigates the functions of a new innate immune receptor in the host response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection using a range of molecular, cell biological, biochemical and immunological approaches.

Cell Biology, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics.

Dr Andrew Brooks

a.brooks@uq.edu.au

NHMRC

Project

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. Molecular Biology, animal handling and surgery, immunology.

Dr Xiaowen Liang

x.liang@uq.edu.au

NHMRC

Project

Visualisation and early prediction of ROS-mediated treatment response in liver cancer by a novel nanoplatform Change of tumour microenvironment has potential to serve as an early predictor of drug efficacy. This proposed project aims to develop a new technology to accurately measure tumour microenvironment during treatment, and to explore the correlation between this potential predicator and tumour growth. This technology would significantly improve the patient prognosis by revealing non-response to chemotherapeutics early and allowing the timely administration of alternative therapies. Biomedicine and Biological Science /pharmacology

School of Psychology

Chief Investigator

Grant type

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Professor Julie Henry

julie.henry@uq.edu.au

ARC

Social cognitive change in late adulthood

The ability to perceive and interpret social cues is a critical predictor of social competency and wellbeing. This project aims to develop and test a model of how normal adult ageing affects this fundamental capacity, and identify the most important determinants of any age-related changes. Because a key prediction is that those older adults who have the greatest difficulties perceiving and interpreting social cues will also have the poorest social function and well-being, a better understanding of the mechanistic factors that drive resilience and risk for these difficulties will have direct and important implications for Australia’s growing older adult community.

Honours degree in psychology, or related discipline.

Professor Matthew Hornsey

m.hornsey@uq.edu.au

 

Associate Professor Nicole Gillespie

n.gillespie@business.uq.edu.au

 

Professor Karen Healy

k.healy@uq.edu.au

ARC Behind a moral shield: Responses to trust breaches in mission-based groups Trust breaches among mission-based groups like churches and charities impact Australia’s most vulnerable populations. By highlighting the psychological and organizational factors that lead to inaction in the face of allegations, the proposed research has the potential to defeat organisational cultures of corruption, abuse and neglect. This project will also shed light on the ways that trust between mission-based groups and the community can be restored after a transgression. Finally, the project will generate new theories and models that account for how people respond when they are presented with disturbing information about a group that they care deeply about.

Applicants are preferred from one of the following backgrounds:

(1) Psychology (Organizational or Social Psychology);

(2) Organisational Studies/Organisational Behaviour;

(3) Management studies.

Dr Kim Peters

k.peters@uq.edu.au

ARC Inequality: Consequences for societies' social and political vitality The student will work with K. Peters, J. Jetten and F. Mols to understand the way in which inequality affects what people talk about (e.g., gossip, rumour and conspiracy theories) and how this in turn affects social cohesion and trust. Honours in psychology, with strong quantitative methodological training.

Dr Tegan Cruwys

t.cruwys@uq.edu.au

ARC DECRA Does shared group membership increase social risk taking? This project investigates the relationship between shared social identity and health risk behaviour, with a particular focus on trust and disgust as mechanisms though which group membership might lead to reduced perceptions of risk. Students with researcher experience and a strong academic record in psychology are invited to contact Tegan for further information. Honours in psychology with a good working knowledge of social identity. Students who are currently completing honours and due to finish in 2017 with a strong GPA will also be considered.

School of Biological Sciences

Chief Investigator

Grant type

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Professor Jochen Mueller

j.mueller@uq.edu.au

 

ARC Linkage

Estimating per capita use and release of chemicals by wastewater analysis

This multidisciplinary project aims to assess human use and exposure to chemicals including drugs, pharmaceuticals, lifestyle chemicals and environmental pollutants in the Australian population through the systematic collection and analysis of wastewater. Up to 4 PhD positions will focus on different aspects, including i) estimating per-capita human usage/exposure to chemicals, ii) relating trends in measured chemicals to exposure, use and/or population health, iii) wastewater treatment plant efficiency, and iv) release of chemicals to the environment via effluent and biosolids. PhD students will gain experience in state-of-the-art chemical analytical techniques, as well as theoretical and practical experience in waste water epidemiology and temporal/spatial analysis techniques.
 
A top-up scholarship ($5,000/annum) is available from the project funds for successful candidates.

First class (I) and IIA honours or MSc in environmental science/chemistry/ toxicology (or related)

ARC Linkage

Fate of fluorinated surfactants and hydrocarbons at coastal airports The extensive past use of perfluorinated chemicals and hydrocarbons at firefighting training grounds has resulted in costly remediation worldwide. Risk based decision making requires understanding the fate of these compounds from point sources. This PhD project aims to combine innovative environmental monitoring techniques and laboratory experiments to understand the fate of perfluorinated chemicals and hydrocarbons in a coastal aquifer system. This PhD is part of a collaboration between environmental chemists, hydrologists, affected industry and regulators and will give the successful candidate experience in state-of-the-art environmental monitoring and chemical analytical techniques, as well as theoretical and practical experience in quantifying contaminant transport processes. First class (I) and IIA honours or MSc in environmental science/chemistry/ toxicology (or related)

Associate Professor Robbie Wilson

r.wilson@uq.edu.au

ARC Linkage Ecology of metal contamination in native Australian mammals & birds on a remote northern island This study aims to evaluate the impacts of metal contamination on the health and performance of native Australian mammals and birds in a northern tropical ecosystem. The project will investigate how a species’ ecology contributes to their risk of contamination. The research also aims to provide local Indigenous Rangers with scientifically based strategies to improve wildlife conservation on Groote Eylandt. Bachelor of Science with Honours (or equivalent), with a background in mammal or bird ecology and behaviour or exotoxicology
ARC Future Fellowship Reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions for conservation Animal-vehicle collisions are common in urban areas and are a costly issue worldwide – both in terms of human health and conservation. This project will investigate the role of traffic flow and speed on the ecology of marsupials in south-east Queensland and the frequency of collisions with vehicles. The project will provide recommendations for developers of automated vehicles to help reduce animal-wildlife collisions for future traffic conditions. Bachelor of Science with Honours (or equivalent), with a background in behavioural ecology or ecology.

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Chief Investigator

Grant type

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Professor David Copland

d.copland@uq.edu.au

NHMRC Project

Predicting and Promoting Aphasia Recovery

The aim of this research is to determine whether brain activity and structure observed after stroke predict subsequent language symptom recovery and response to treatment.

Speech pathology, cognitive neuroscience, psychology or related discipline.

Professor Jennifer Fleming

j.fleming@uq.edu.au

NHMRC Project Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to evaluate the effect of a metacognitive approach to prospective memory rehabilitation in people with traumatic brain injury Prospective memory, or memory for intentions, is a common problem for people with severe traumatic brain injury. Compensatory strategy training combined with a metacognitive approach to rehabilitation may assist in reducing failures of prospective memory in everyday life. This project aims to evaluate whether a 6-week prospective memory rehabilitation programme is associated with functional and structural changes in the brain using a mulit-modality imaging approach. It will involve designing a prospective memory task suitable for use within a MRI scanner, testing the task with non-injured controls, and evaluating pre-post intervention effects using fMRI. A background in image processing, occupational therapy or neuropsychology

Institute for Molecular Bioscience

Chief Investigator

Grant type

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Professor Matthew Sweet

m.sweet@imb.uq.edu.au

NHMRC Project

Combating infectious diseases by harnessing macrophage functions

The project aims to characterize a molecular pathway that constrains the ability of macrophages to kill intracellular bacterial pathogens, and to inhibit this pathway as anti-infective approach.

B. Sc hons, majoring in immunology, cell biology and/or biochemistry.

ARC Discovery

Demystifying histone deacetylase functions in immune cells The project aims to understand how one member of the histone deacetylase family of enzymes (HDAC7) controls innate immune-mediated inflammatory and antimicrobial responses. B. Sc hons, majoring in immunology, cell biology and/or biochemistry.

Dr Kelly Smith

k.smith@imb.uq.edu.au

ARC Left-right patterning of the heart For the heart to form the correct shape and architecture, not only must the correct number and type of cells be generated but they must assemble in the correct pattern, both at a cell-cell level but also on a whole organ scale. We have identified a previously unidentified asymmetry in the developing heart that is essential for later morphogenesis, patterning and, therefore, function of the heart. The project will use fluorescent transgenic zebrafish embryos to follow tissue morphogenesis in real-time (timelapse imaging) and use drugs and mutant lines to study the molecules that instruct this asymmetric development. Molecular Biology Developmental Biology
NHMRC Investigating cell adhesion dynamics during cardiomyocyte morphogenesis The heart forms its unique shape through altering cell shapes and modifying cell-cell junctions. To form a bulge in the cardiac chamber wall, cardiomyocytes elongate. To do this, they must reorganise their actomyosin network within the cell and they must also alter their cell-cell junctions, altering the number of junctions they have as well as how many neighbouring cells they are in contact with. The project will investigate a protein essential for cell-cell junctions and investigate how it signals to the actomyosin network to bring about cell shape changes. We use the zebrafish model to study embryonic heart development, employing transgenic fluorescent reporter and mutant lines. Molecular Biology Developmental Biology

School of Music

Chief Investigator

Grant type

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Professor Margaret Barrett

j.carpenter@uq.edu.au

ARC
Discovery

Pedagogies of expertise in musical thought and practice

This project aims to generate new knowledge about the pedagogy and environmental features that underpin the development of early expertise in music. Prior studies of musical expertise have focused on instrumental expertise developed in individual contexts. The project is innovative in its focus on Choral singing, a musical practice in which children (age 6 – 17) attain a standard of expertise unique to that domain and acquired in a collective setting. Through four cases of expert practice in Children’s choirs that reflect diverse socio-cultural settings (sacred, secular, male, female, Indigenous choirs) the project intends to inform pedagogical practices and learning environment design for children and young people in and beyond music.

Undergraduate Music degree with Hons and/or Graduate Masters research degree in music. An understanding of and experience with Indigenous education would be advantageous.

Institute for Social Science Research

Chief Investigator

Grant type

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Dr Francisco Perales

f.perales@uq.edu.au

DECRA

Sexual orientation and life chances in contemporary Australia

The Australian Government is committed to equality of opportunity by sexual orientation through anti-discrimination legislation, but there is an alarming scarcity of information about the extent of socio-economic disparities between heterosexual and non-heterosexual people in Australia. This DECRA aims to deliver critical policy-relevant quantitative evidence to monitor outcome gaps by sexual orientation. Using a minority stress framework and leveraging innovative survey and administrative data, its goal is to provide first-time systematic Australian evidence of social stratification by sexual orientation across a diversity of life domains, and identify mechanisms driving the associations between sexual-minority status and life outcomes.

This project is suitable for students with experience in quantitative data analysis and who come from a social science background (e.g. sociology, economics, psychology, demography, public health).

School of Communication and Arts

Chief Investigator

Grant type

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Associate Professor Shuang Liu

shuang.liu@uq.edu.au

ARC

Ageing well in a foreign land: Identity, social connectedness, well-being

This is an ARC linkage project with Diversicare, a division of Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland, as the partner organisation. The project advances knowledge of how to best harness and develop identity resources as concrete assets for enhancing well-being among older people from diverse cultural backgrounds. A mixed methods approach are used to: (a) identify the factors that contribute to social isolation and low well-being; (b) understand when and how engagement in ethnic and mixed cultural activities run by Diversicare enhances social connectedness and well-being; and (c) evaluate and determine key principles underlying effective identity-based interventions. The expected outcomes will lead to training programs for immigrant communities and aged care professionals.

Communication, Sociology, Social psychology, Language & culture