Development of venom-derived blood-brain barrier shuttles

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.

The blood-brain barrier controls the transfer of substances between the blood and the brain, protecting us from toxic compounds while allowing the transfer of nutrients and other beneficial molecules. This project aims to discover new venom peptides capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier and to develop non-toxic peptide-based brain delivery systems. It addresses long-standing challenges and knowledge gaps in the delivery of macromolecules across biological barriers. The project will involve cell culture, blood-brain barrier models and assays, proteomics, peptide chemistry, molecular biology and pharmacology. Expected outcomes include an improved understanding of the strategies nature exploits to reach targets in the brain, mechanistic pathways to cross biological membranes, and innovative discovery and chemistry strategies to advance fundamental research across the chemical and biological sciences. Anticipated benefits include technological innovations relevant to Australia’s biotechnology sector and enhanced capacity for cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Associate Professor Markus Muttenthaler

Institute for Molecular Bioscience


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 cell culture, molecular biology, synthetic chemistry (peptide, medicinal, organic), chemical biology and/or pharmacology would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of chemical biology, chemistry, peptide science, and molecular biology and pharmacology and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of peptide chemistry, chemical biology, mass spectrometry and biochemistry is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 2, 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