Launch your research career

These scholarships are funded by the Commonwealth Government to provide assistance for living costs to 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 $27,082 (2018 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.

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

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.

Research area: Health*

Chemistry and materials science, bio-nanotechnology

Dr Bin Luo

b.luo1@uq.edu.au

ARC Designing solar rechargeable battery system for efficient solar energy storage

This project aims to develop a new prototype of solar rechargeable battery for the direct capture and storage of abundant but intermittent solar energy. These will provide advances in material science and solar energy storage technologies, thus addressing the global energy shortage and environmental pollution issues.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

Electrochemistry, Material Science, or Nanoscience
ARC New hierarchical electrode design for high-power lithium ion batteries

This project aims to develop new types of hierarchical electrodes for high-rate lithium ion batteries with long cycling life. The project outcomes will lead to innovative technologies in low carbon emission transportation and efficient energy storage systems.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

Material Science, Electrochemistry
ARC LP Design of New Two-dimensional Materials for Lithium Sulfur Batteries

Effective energy storage system plays an important role in the installation of renewable energies and electric vehicles. This project aims to develop new types of hierarchical cathode composites for high capacity lithium-sulfur battery with long cycling life. The outcomes will lead to innovative technologies in low carbon emission transportation and efficient energy storage systems.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

Electrochemistry, Material Science

Dr Hang Ta

h.ta@uq.edu.au

NHMRC Smart magnetic resonance imaging nanosensor for detecting and grading diseases

The early detection and accurate characterization of life-threatening diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer are critical to the design of treatment. This project aims to develop smart magnetic resonance imaging nano-sensors that can detect, sense and report the stage or progression of cardiovascular diseases such as thrombosis, the leading cause of death in Australia and worldwide.

Research area: Health*

Chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science, biotechnology, nanotechnology, pharmacy, biochemistry.
NHMRC Activatable nanomaterials for advanced diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases

Cardiovascular disease accounts of over one third of all deaths in Australia and is forecasted to become the leading cause of death in Australia and worldwide. This project will develop next-generation activatable nanomaterials for drug delivery with an imaging sensor mechanism to monitoring drug release in cardiovascular diseases.

Research area: Health*

Chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science, biotechnology, nanotechnology, pharmacy, biochemistry.
NHMRC Cardiovascular diseases on the chip

Every newly developed drug need to be tested through numerous rounds of animal testing before they can be tested on human. However, a rodent or chimp’s response to a medication does not alsway translate smoothly in a person. This project aims to develop chips that mimics the biological processes of cardiovascular diseases, which allows testing new therapies freely on “subjects” without harming any living creatures and lessen the need for animal testing.

Research area: Health*

Chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science, biotechnology, nanotechnology, pharmacy, biochemistry.

Faculty of Medicine

Chief Investigator Grant type Project title Project description Preferred educational background

Associate Professor Tracy Comans

t.comans@uq.edu.au

NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Leadership Fellowship Develop and evaluate a picto-graph tool to measure quality of life

This project will develop a quality of life instrument for economic evaluation of health care programs that uses pictures rather than written questions. The instrument will be designed to be easier to complete for those with cognitive decline / dementia or other issues that affect written communication.

Research area: Health*

Psychology or speech pathology / communication background interested in instrument development and quality of life
Dementia modelling using large data

This project will develop new methods of data analysis to incorporate into future models of dementia care. Large datasets will be interrogated to understand the patterns of care and health care usage of people with dementia and identify predictors of poor and good outcomes. Data will be drawn from linked datasets and available longitudinal studies.

Research area: Health*

High level quantitative analysis skills required preferably with large data. Must be familiar with latent class analysis or have the ability to gain this skill.

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

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

Dr Paul Gardiner

p.gardiner@uq.edu.au

NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellowship Stand up to dementia

This project explores relationships of lifestyle behaviours with cognitive decline. The project may incorporate epidemiological as well as health behaviour intervention approaches.

Research area: Health*

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

Dr Melinda Martin-Khan

m.martinkhan@uq.edu.au

NHMRC Boosting Demntia Research Initiative Improving quality of care for people with dementia in the acute care setting (DemQI)

This multi-disciplinary project will implement a whole of hospital assessment system, and a Research Collaboration for Quality Care.  The aim is to replace the nursing admission assessment for adult patients at the beginning of an acute care episode to an electronic assessment which comprehensively targets assessment and risk in less than 15 minutes; and reports Quality Indicators for patient outcomes. 
The project will include all older adults admitted to acute care, but focus on opportunities to improve the quality of care for people with dementia by improving the screening for cognitive impairment in hospital. 

Research area: Health*

Research experience either in the field, Masters or Hons. Students who are currently completing honours and due to finish in 2017 with a strong GPA will also be considered. 

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

Dr Sumaira Hasnain

sumaira.hasnain@mater.uq.edu.au

NHMRC Targeting Immunopathology in Chronic Disease

Misfolding of some proteins occurs during biosynthesis, especially the complex secretory and transmembrane proteins assembled in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). When protein misfolding occurs in the ER it leads to a condition known as ER stress. Part of normal cellular housekeeping, a complex molecular network has evolved to promote proper folding, and identifies and degrades misfolded proteins. Protein misfolding is an inherent part of ageing and evidence is accumulating that with age the stress response declines. This project will be focussed on the working hypothesis that the unfolded protein response decreases in the intestinal epithelial cells with ageing and that this may be the primary contributor to the low-grade inflammation reported in ageing and could be targeted to ensure healthy ageing. 

Research area: Health*

BSc Hons
NHMRC Targeting Immunopathology in Chronic Disease

The cytokine, IL-22 is a regulator of mucosal integrity and tissue repair. We recently identified IL-22 as a major regulator of glucose homeostasis. Our studies show that IL-22 potently repressed the production and accumulation of reactive oxygen species and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) in human and mouse islet cells exposed to inflammatory cytokines, free fatty acids, tunicamycin or H2O2, while decreasing basal RNS production in unstressed cells. Using an oxidative RT-PCR array, we further showed that IL-22 down-regulated key oxidative stress inducing genes and concomitantly up-regulated antioxidant genes, demonstrating that IL-22 suppresses oxidative and Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) stress within the pancreatic β-cell to improve the production of high quality insulin.  in this project  the aims is to delineate the relationship between IL-22, and gut/hypothalamic satiety signaling and determine if these effects are indirectly regulated by IL-22 in obesity.

Research area: Health*

BSc Hons

Associate Professor Antje Blumenthal

a.blumenthal@uq.edu.au

NHMRC Enhancing host defence mechanisms in severe bacterial infections

New options to treat bacterial infections are needed because of the rapid increase in antibiotic resistance. One very attractive strategy is to boost the body’s own defence mechanisms against bacteria. Using molecular, cell biological and in vivo techniques, this project defines host cell molecular mechanisms that can be manipulated to better control bacterial infections.

Research area: Health*

Immunology, Microbiology, Cell biology

Professor Murray Mitchell

murray.mitchell@uq.edu.au

ARC Evaluation of biomarkers and  responsive cell pathways in reproductive biology

The project involves the measurements of compounds (lipids, nucleic acids and proteins/cytokines) from biological fluids (e.g milk/plasma) and cell culture media.  In particular, we are examining the roles of eicosanoids and endocannabinoids in fertility and pregnancy using Mass Spectrometry and ELISA. Other techniques such as PCR arrays and miRNA profiling will also be used with the aim to study higher and lower fertility metabolic and reproductive pathways, including within exosomal cargo.

Research area: Health*

Degree in any related area from cell to molecular biology or equivalent

Associate Professor Michael Piper

m.piper@uq.edu.au

ARC Transcriptional regulation of brain size during development

Here, we aim to understand the factors mediating normal brain size during development, as well as how these factors contribute to adult neurogenesis and neurodevelopmental disorders such as hydrocephalus.

Research area: Health*

BSc (Hons – first class)

Associate Professor Bradley Launikonis

b.launikonis@uq.edu.au

ARC DP Ca2+ cycling and heat generation in muscle

This project will uncover the mechanisms that enable mammalian skeletal muscle to play a major role in generating the heat required to maintain a constant body temperature. The ability to modulate body heat played a defining role in the evolution of species, their behaviour and global distribution.  All vertebrates have muscle but only mammals and birds can use muscle to provide an essential modulatory role in whole body resting heat production. The muscle spends most of its time in a resting state (not contracting), when vital heat production must occur. How heat production occurs in resting muscle is of fundamental importance and will be defined for the first time, providing new avenues to manipulate metabolic rate and counter obesity.

Research area: Health*

BScHons in physiology or similar
Effect of heavy load exercise on Ca2+ handling in human skeletal muscle

This project will look at the movements of calcium associated with delayed onset muscle soreness and uncover the mechanisms that the muscle fibres employ so that the muscle is protected from long-term injury. The project will be based around imaging calcium, associated proteins and membrane networks inside human muscle fibres from subjects before and after strenuous exercise.

Research area: Health*

BScHons in physiology or similar

Associate Professor Trent Woodruff

t.woodruff@uq.edu.au

NHMRC Therapeutic blockade of neuroinflammation for the treatment of Huntington’s disease

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

Research area: Health*

Background in pharmacology or neuroscience research

Dr Josephine Bowles

jo.bowles@uq.edu.au

ARC Discovery Investigating the timing and mechanism of spermatogonial stem cell allocation in the fetal testis

This project addresses a fundamental biological question: how the spermatogonial stem cell (SCC), a unique type of stem cell that generates sperm throughout life, is allocated during fetal development. We aim to determine exactly when and how SSCs are specified, and further, whether a genetic pathway that is used by in vitro stem cells is also employed, in vivo, by testicular stem cells – all of this work will be done in the mouse model.

Research area: Health*

Experience or interest in the fields of developmental biology, stem cell biology or reproductive biology

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

B. Sc hons, majoring in immunology, cell biology and/or biochemistry.
NHMRC Project The dual-edged sword of zinc as an innate immune antimicrobial weapon against uropathogenic E. coli.

The project aims to understand how innate immune cells utilize zinc as a direct antimicrobial weapon against bacterial pathogens, and how uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC, the major cause of urinary tract infections) subverts this host defence pathway.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

Molecular Biology Developmental Biology

Professor Jenny Stow

j.stow@imb.uq.edu.au

NHMRC Macrophage Polarisation and Control of Pulmonary Inflammation

Uncontrolled inflammation contributes to many chronic diseases, including cystic fibrosis. This project aims to find macrophage molecules and drug targets to switch off inflammation in disease, using models of disease and human cells, working with clinicians.

Research area: Health*

Strong in at least one of the following:

  • Cell biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Physiology
  • Biotechnology
ARC 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.

Research area: Health*

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

Dr Nathan Palpant

n.palpant@uq.edu.au

 

NHMRC / ARC DP 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.

Research area: Health*

  • Cell biology
  • Cardiovascular development
  • Genetics
NHMRC / ARC DP 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.

Research area: Health*

  • Computational and statistical genetics 
  • Bioinformatics

Dr Christina Schoeder

c.schroeder@imb.uq.edu.au

ARC Future Fellowship Targeted peptide delivery by nanobody conjugation

This project aims to use plant-derived cyclic disulfide-rich peptides conjugated to an antigen-presenting cell targeting nanobody to deliver otherwise unstable peptide epitopes in order to raise antibodies for the use in biotechnology application or treatment of disease. 

Research area: Health*

  • chemical biology
  • chemistry
  • molecular biology
  • immunology
  • biochemistry

Dr Lin Luo

l.luo@imb.uq.edu.au

ARC DECRA 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. 

Research area: Health*

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

Dr Enda Byrne

enda.byrne@uq.edu.au

NHMRC Post-partum depression: Action towards causes and treatment

The project will use genetic data combined with data from a large, detailed online survey to investigate genetic and non-genetic risk factors for postpartum depression. These risk factors will be compared with those for depression occurring outside of the postpartum period. In addition, variation in response to treatment will be investigated. 

The project will involve statistical analysis of large datasets in a high-performance computing environment.

Research area: Health*

Students with a background in genetics, psychiatry, statistics/mathematics, and/or computer programming will be considered. 

Professor David Craik

d.craik@imb.uq.edu.au

 

NHMRC Development of peptide-based scaffolds for intracellular cancer targets

The overall aim of this project is to develop peptide-based drugs that are able to cross cell membranes and inhibit specific intracellular cancer targets, leading to more effective, safer and cost effective drugs. 
Our critical discovery that certain classes of cyclic peptides can cross
cell membranes and bind to specific targets inside cells has opened the possibility to inhibit these intracellular cancer targets with highly specific peptide-based drugs.
We will use stable, cyclic, disulfide-rich peptides as frameworks to design novel drugs that can penetrate into cells and block protein:protein interactions.
The major outcome of this project will be new drug leads to treat melanoma and leukaemia with higher specificity, lower toxicity and a lower likelihood to develop resistance than current therapies.

Research area: Health*

Chemistry

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.

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

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).

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

Plant biochemistry
Plant physiology
Plant molecular biology

Associate Professor Mary Fletcher

mary.fletcher@uq.edu.au

Meat and Livestock Australia (open call) Improving beef production through management of plant toxins

Consumption of poisonous plants by livestock does not necessarily equal uptake of the toxin, and the approach of the proposed research is to devise strategies to enable toxin breakdown in the cattle rumen before absorption into the bloodstream.  This applied industry project is aimed at mitigating the effects of the Pimelea plant toxin simplexin and requires analytical chemistry skills to measure both the toxin and its degradation products. This investigation capitalises on natural rumen response by isolating microbes capable of degrading the simplexin (for use as preventative probiotics), and investigating toxin absorbents and/or biopolymers to foster toxin-degrading microbe populations.  Additional top-up scholarship ($8,000 p.a.) is available for suitable domestic student.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

Honours Degree or Masters in Chemistry or related field

Queensland Brain Institute

Chief Investigator Grant type Project title Project description Preferred educational background

Professor Geoff Goodhill

g.goodhill@uq.edu.au

 

Please note as Professor Goodhill holds a joint appointment at UQ, prospective students can also apply to be enrolled through the School of Mathematics & Physics.

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

Psychology/ Cognitive Neuroscience/ NeuroImaging/ Quantitative Genetics/ Translational Neuroscience/ Psychiatry

Dr Fanny de Busserolles

f.debusserolles@uq.edu.au

ARC DECRA Ontogenetic development of the visual system in fishes with contrasting habitats and lifestyles

The aim of this PhD will be to investigate the ontogenetic development (from larvae to adult) of the visual system of several species of reef and deep-sea fishes in order to better understand the evolution of the teleost visual system and assess the possible impact of a changing world (i.e. modified by anthropogenic activities) of the visual perception and ecology of these fishes.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

Neuroscience, marine biology, molecular biology, neurobiology, sensory biology, fish behaviour

Dr Alexander Puckett

a.puckett@uq.edu.au

 

ARC DECRA Cortical-layer-specific functional imaging of the human brain

This project aims to record layer-specific cortical activity in humans by leveraging ultra-high field (7T) magnetic resonance imaging.

Research area: Health*

Science graduates ideally with a background in neuroscience, neuroimaging, or biomedical engineering

Associate Professor Helen Cooper

h.cooper@uq.edu.au

Associate Professor Michael Piper

m.piper@uq.edu.au

NHMRC Aberrant ependymal development and the formation of hydrocephalus

Foetal hydrocephalus is a prevalent neurodevelopmental condition associated with severe intellectual impairment. Breakdown of the ependymal cell layer, which acts as a barrier between brain tissue and the ventricular space, is a major cause of hydrocephalus. Despite the importance of these cells, we have little understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate their production. This project will identify critical signalling pathways governing the establishment of the ependymal layer.

Research area: Health*

Neuroscience. Cell biology, Molecular biology, Developmental biology or Stem cell biology

 

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.
 
Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

Bachelor of Science with Honours (or equivalent), with a background in behavioural ecology or ecology.

School of Chemical Engineering

Chief Investigator

Grant type

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Dr Jianhua Guo

j.guo@awmc.uq.edu.au

ARC Future Fellowship

Application of bacteriophages to control antibiotic resistant bacteria in urban water systems

The spread of antibiotic resistance has posed major threats for public health. The increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) has prompted the need for an efficient antibacterial control other than antibiotics. In this project, bacteriophages will be isolated from activated sludge and bacteriophage-based control will be assessed in vitro for its ability to inhibit or damage emerging ARB. The outcomes will offer a novel approach to controlling ARB in urban water systems.

Research area: Health*

Environmental science and engineering, environmental microbiology, bioengineering, or genetics

Associate Professor Mary Fletcher

mary.fletcher@uq.edu.au

MLA Modelling the controlled release of toxins from biopolymer composites in a model rumen environment

The controlled release of bioactives from degradable polymer matrices is a well-established route for the delivery of functional compounds over a sustained period. It is a powerful tool for managing the health and wellbeing of our cattle. However, the release rates and degradation profiles of biopolymers in cattle rumen is poorly understood or modelled. This project will address those gaps, using both practical and theoretical modelling approaches.

Please note: the principal advisor for this project will be Dr Bronwyn Laycock, b.laycock@uq.edu.au with Chemical Engineering as the enrolling unit.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

Preferred B Eng (four year, 1st class honours) or B.Sc. (Hons 1 or 2A) or equivalent.

School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences

Chief Investigator

Grant type

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Professor Gene Tyson

g.tyson@uq.edu.au

 

ARC Future Fellowship

Uncovering new microbial players and processes in the global methane cycle

The overarching aim of this proposal is to utilise multiple analytical strategies (including metagenomics and metatranscriptomics) to substantially expand our understanding of the key microorganisms, metabolic strategies, and interspecies relationships involved in the formation and consumption of methane.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

Have completed at least four years of tertiary education studies at a high level of achievement and have an appropriate Honours 1 (or equivalent) undergraduate degree.

Dr Christian Rinke

c.rinke@uq.edu.au

ARC Future Fellowship

Archaeal Dark Matter and the Origin of Eukaryotes

The overall aim of this project is to investigate the highly controversial origin of eukaryotes and thus all multicellular life within Archaea, a domain of single-celled microorganisms. The project aims to develop a novel high-throughput single-cell genomics approach to recover archaeal genomes from the deep sea.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

First class (I) honours or MSc, with a background in molecular biology or bioinformatics.

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).

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*
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).

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*
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).

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*
1st class Honours (or equivalent) degree in Chemistry with excellent skills and experiences in organic chemistry and/or computational chemistry

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.

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

Communication, Sociology, Social psychology, Language & culture

Associate Professor Eliabeth Stephens

e.stephens@uq.edu.au

ARC Future Fellowship Understanding collaboration between the arts and sciences

This project undertakes the first cultural history of the experiment, from early modern science to contemporary experimental art. It focuses on the importance of collaborations between the art and sciences to this history.

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

Honours in any relevant area of the humanities.

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.

Research area: Engineering, architecture and planning, and information technology*

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.

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

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?

Research area: Engineering, architecture and planning, and information technology*

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

 

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.

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

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

Associate Professor Katie Makar

k.makar@uq.edu.au

ARC Discovery Developing classroom norms of inquiry based learning in mathematics

This project aims to create new knowledge about inquiry norms in primary mathematics classrooms, including expert teachers’ signature practices, how norms are developed and their impact on learning. Classroom norms dictate the learning environment in school mathematics; these norms can engage students in productive social interactions, improve their mathematical knowledge as well as their interest, valuing and capacity to solve complex problems.

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

A background in education is preferred. Prospective candidates with a background in mathematics, humanities, social sciences or psychology will also be considered.

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

A background in image processing, occupational therapy or neuropsychology

School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry

Chief Investigator

Grant type

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Associate Professor Elizabeth Stephens

e.stephens@uq.edu.au

ARC Future Fellowship

Understanding collaboration between the arts and sciences

This project undertakes the first cultural history of the experiment, from early modern science to contemporary experimental art. It focuses on the importance of collaborations between the art and sciences to this history.

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

Honours in any relevant area of the humanities.

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

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.
 
Research area: Health*
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.
 
Research area: Health*
Neuroscience, Exercise Science, Neurophysiology, Medicine, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Engineering.

Dr Gary Osmond

g.osmond@uq.edu.au

ARC Future Fellowship Sport, Stories and Survival: Reframing Indigenous Sport History

This project aims to investigate the links between sport, community and identity in Aboriginal Settlements that were created and controlled by the Queensland Government during the twentieth century. A focus will be on how and why settlement inmates, both individually and collectively, engaged with sport, and the meaning of sport in communities.

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

An Honours degree in sports history, or sports studies with a sports history focus, with grade 7. Applicants must have written an Honours thesis in a related area.

 

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.

Research area: Engineering, architecture and planning, and information technology*

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

Dr Ruifeng Yan

ruifeng@itee.uq.edu.au

ARC DECRA Enabling high photovoltaic penetration in power distribution networks

The rapid uptake of residential solar systems has resulted in extensive voltage management issues for power distribution grids. This project aims to develop a novel hybrid control method for network voltage regulation with high photovoltaic penetration. Without such technology, the further integration of solar photovoltaic into the power grid will become increasingly difficult. The outcome of this project will enable power utilities to cost-effectively regulate network voltage and ultimately remove barriers for future photovoltaic deployment. This will deliver significant economic benefits for both the wider community and utility providers, along with substantial environmental outcomes through increased use of sustainable energy sources.

Research area: Engineering, architecture and planning, and information technology*

First class honours (or equivalent) /Masters in power system or control Engineering or Math. Strong programming and math skills desirable

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.

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

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.

 

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

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).

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*
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).

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*
1st class Honours degree or equivalent degree in Physics or Physical Chemistry with skills and experiences spectroscopy and optics

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.

Research area: Engineering, architecture and planning, and information 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.

Research area: Engineering, architecture and planning, and information technology*

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.

Research area: Engineering, architecture and planning, and information technology*

Mechanical, electrical or biomedical engineering

ARC

ARC Research Hub for Advanced Manufacturing of Medical Devices

Developing the smart-enough factory learning environment.

Research area: Engineering, architecture and planning, and information technology*

Mechanical, mechatronics, Electrical or manufacturing engineering

Dr David Gildfind

d.gildfind@uq.edu.au

ARC DECRA Magnetohydrodynamic Flow Control for Earth Re-entry from Deep Space

A spacecraft returning to Earth from deep space will reach higher velocities than any re-entry vehicle before it (up to 14 km/s for Mars return). A conventional descent at this speed will see tremendous radiative and convective heating; the mass of the vehicle’s thermal protection system (TPS), could become prohibitively heavy based on current Earth-return technology. This project aims to experimentally evaluate magnetohydrodynamic flow control as a new technology to reduce vehicle heat loading. This concept involves applying a magnetic field to the hot ionized gases which form around the spacecraft during re-entry, which can provide a path for dissipating kinetic energy and reducing surface heating.

Research area: Engineering, architecture and planning, and information technology*

Mechanical and/or Aerospace Engineering. Physics degree may be highly beneficial.

School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work

Chief Investigator Grant type Project title Project description Preferred educational background

Dr Philip Gillingham

p.gillingham@uq.edu.au

ARC Future Fellowship The evaluation of practice frameworks

Practice frameworks, such as Signs of Safety and Solution Based Casework, are being implemented in child welfare jurisdictions across the world. There is however a paucity of research about their effects on outcomes for children and families. This project will design and conduct evaluative research in possibly multiple jurisdictions to evaluate the impact of practice frameworks.

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

Bachelor/Master of Social Work
ARC Future Fellowship The use of digital technology in social welfare agencies

Digital technology, such as information systems, have been implemented in social welfare agencies with detrimental effects on frontline service delivery. New designs and ways of using digital technology are required to develop tools that will support front line practice. This may include predictive risk modelling, decision support systems, big data approaches and information system design.

Research area: Engineering, architecture and planning, and information technology*

Sociology, Computer science, Business, Social psychology, Social work

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.

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

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.

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

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.

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

Honours in psychology, with strong quantitative methodological training.

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.

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

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.

Research area: Agribusiness, agriculture, environment and science*

BSc Hon in archaeology and zoology/biology

Professor Janet Hardy (CIA)

Dr Rebecca Olson (CIH)
r.olson@uq.edu.au

NHMRC Medicinal Cannabis to Relieve Symptom Burden in the Palliative Care of Patients with Advanced Cancer

This study addresses the lack of high quality evidence for the use of medicinal cannabis in palliative care patients. The PhD Candidate will work on the qualitative sub-study to the clinical trial, gaining in-depth insight into patients’ perceptions of medicinal cannabinoids.

Research area: Health*

  • Background in Social Science & Health (e.g., Sociology of Health & Illness, Medical Anthropology, Criminology)
  • Experience in conducting qualitative research 

Associate Professor Adrian Cherney

a.cherney@uq.edu.au

ARC Linkage Optimising illicit dark net marketplace interventions

UQ PhD scholarship in illicit dark net marketplace interventions ($26,288 per year). This ARC Linkage project is a collaboration between the University of the Sunshine Coast, the University of Queensland, the University of Southampton and a range of industry partners that includes the Queensland Police, iDcare, Australia Post, Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection, and the Australian Crime Commission. The project draws on systems based analysis to assess illicit dark net forums and identify how personal information is stolen, bought and sold on the dark net. Outcomes include developing and testing a series of interventions designed to disrupt identify theft activities.  The project brings together researchers, practitioners, theories and methods from human factors, sociotechnical systems, criminology, and cyber security. One aim of this PhD is to examine the semantic and organisational structure of illicit dark net forums. The project is led by the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in partnership with iDcare (https://www.idcare.org/) and it is expected the PhD student will need to spend at least 2 days week at USC working with the project team. 

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

Background in criminology and cyber security /information technology
ARC Future Fellowship Preventing terrorism through community-based approaches

This project's focus is countering violent extremism. It aims to investigate the development, implementation and impact of policies and programs aimed at preventing terrorism through community-based approaches. This project expects to generate new knowledge about counter-terrorism policing and the prevention of violent extremism by examining policies adopted in Australia and abroad. Expected outcomes of this project include identifying models of best practice and ascertaining how community partnerships against terrorism can be improved. This PhD is part of boarder program of research being undertaken by Associate Professor Adrian Cherney that comprises part of an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship. The successful candidate will also have the opportunity to work on other counter-terrorism/CVE related projects being completed by Associate Professor Cherney.

Research area: Humanities, education, psychology and music*

Background in criminology or associated social science discipline

 

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.

Research area: Health*

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

NHMRC Enhancing host defence mechanisms in severe bacterial infections

New options to treat bacterial infections are needed because of the rapid increase in antibiotic resistance. One very attractive strategy is to boost the body’s own defence mechanisms against bacteria. Using molecular, cell biological and in vivo techniques, this project defines host cell molecular mechanisms that can be manipulated to better control bacterial infections.

Research area: Health*

Immunology, Microbiology, Cell biology

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.

Research area: Health*

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.

Research area: Health*

Biomedicine and Biological Science /pharmacology

Dr Jatin Patel

j.patel@uq.edu.au

ARC DECRA Defining the biology of vascular stem cells for tissue regeneration

This project aims to understand the fundamental biology of vascular stem cells by defining their in vivo niche and molecular identity. Further, this project will delineate the important role vascular stem cells play in regenerating the circulatory system and their potential use as a cell therapy in treating cardiovascular disease.

Research area: Health*

The ideal candidate will have a BSc (Hons), with courses in biomedical science, animal handling, cell/molecular biology and cardiovascular anatomy

Professor David Evans

d.evans1@uq.edu.au

NHMRC Project Development and application of a Mendelian randomization framework aimed at dissecting the biological basis of complex disease

The aim of this project is to identify genes and molecular biomarkers (i.e. gene expression and gene methylation) that causally affect risk of complex disease using a combination of genome-wide association studies and Mendelian randomization approaches.

Research area: Health*

Epidemiology, Statistics, Genetics, Psychology
NHMRC Project Using Methods in Genetic Epidemiology to Elucidate the Relationship Between Viral Infection and Risk of Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body's natural defense mechanisms attack healthy tissues by mistake. It has long been thought that viral infections might play a role in triggering autoimmune disease. This project aims to find genes that influence the body's response to viral infection and subsequently whether the same genes are involved in autoimmune disease pathology.

Research area: Health*

Epidemiology, Statistics, Genetics,  Psychology

Dr Gabriel Cuellar Partida

g.cuellarpartida@uq.edu.au

ARC DECRA 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.

Research area: Health*

Bioinformatics, Software engineering, Genetics, Statistics, Epidemiology