Developing new therapeutic targets for ovarian cancer using extracellular vesicles

Project opportunity

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

OVCA is the sixth most commonly reported cancer and the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, accounting for 5% of all cancer mortality in developed countries. Progress has been made in OVCA research, however, little improvement has been achieved in survival rates over the last 10 years. Tumour development and progression are dependent upon cell-to-cell communication, allowing cancer cells to not only re-program cells within the surrounding tumour microenvironment but also cells located at distant sites. Recent studies established that extracellular vesicles (and, in particular, exosomes) mediate bi-directional communication between normal and cancerous cells.  Exosomes are a specific subtype of secreted vesicles, defined as small (~30-120 nm) but highly stable membrane vesicles that are released from a wide range of cells, including healthy and cancer cells. They are packaged with tissue-specific signalling molecules (e.g., proteins and miRNAs) and once released, are capable of regulating target cell phenotype, inducing a pro-tumorigenic phenotype to contribute to tumour growth and metastasis as well as proximal and distal cell function. Recently, we proposed that exosomes are a “fingerprint” of their cell of origin and reflect the metabolic status. Thus, the aim of this project is to identify new therapeutic targets to inhibit tumor growth via exosomes. We will engineer exosomes that are able to encapsulate molecules and target ovarian cancer cells, to deliver RNA drugs (i.e. miRNA inhibitors), for therapeutic applications.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $29,863 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Associate Professor Carlos Salomon Gallo

Faculty of Medicine


Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.

We take into account your

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

A working knowledge of extracellular vesicles, cell culture, 3D models and proteomics would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of cancer and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of cell biology is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2024. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.

If you are an international applicant, you may need to apply much earlier for visa requirements.

How to apply

You apply for this project as part of your PhD program application.

View application process