Host-Microbe Interactions and the circadian clock in Liver Disease

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.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major global health problem and refers to a spectrum of liver conditions including simple steatosis, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and fibrosis. NAFLD affects at least 25% of adults in developed nations and is a leading cause of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, but current treatment options remain limited.

Increasing evidence points to a crucial role of gut microbiota in the pathophysiology of NAFLD, yet the underlying mechanisms remain scarcely understood. This PhD project is based on our findings that microbiota modulates growth hormone (GH) secretion of the host (microbiota-GH axis) to regulate diurnal/circadian liver physiology in a sex-dependent manner.

The study will explore the role of an altered microbiota-GH axis in NAFLD progression and will test whether its targeted modulation may provide a new way for treating NAFLD. This project involves a multi-omics approach and combines innovative cell culture and pre-clinical models of NAFLD. Students with an interest in liver physiology and/or the circadian clock are encouraged to apply.

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)


Dr Benjamin Weger

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 molecular biology, animal biology, and/or bioinformatics would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of molecular biology, biomedical science or biochemistry, liver biology or endocrinology and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of molecular biology techniques and pre-clinical models is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2026. 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