Molecular design of drugs to fight chronic human diseases and environmental pests

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.

An excellent opportunity for a PhD candidate to explore cutting-edge technologies for design of bioactive proteins to fight chronic human diseases or environmental pests. A motivated individual will be immersed in a leading research institute and international team at UQ, supported by an Australian Centre of Excellence and nationally funded research programs.

Development of drugs for human benefit, whether to cure human diseases or safeguard our food resources and environmental assets, must begin with the design of bioactive lead molecules. This research program will investigate platform technologies for engineering of novel proteins, which are actively pursued by many emerging biotechnology industries. The candidate will choose one of the following major application areas of national importance.

  1. Next-generation anti-cancer drugs
  2. Antimicrobial agents to fight infection
  3. Bio-friendly drugs to control agricultural pests
  4. Natural proteins to prevent crown of thorns starfish outbreaks

A typical project will involve use of protein structure to design new drugs. The candidate could choose to use either computational design tools or molecular libraries to screen massive numbers of drug leads. This often followed by characterisation of structure and activity using biophysical, biochemical and/or biological assays.

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 Conan Wang

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 peptide and protein structure and function, molecular cloning, protein expression and purification, computational structural biology, and protein and ligand binding interactions would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of biochemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of peptides and proteins is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 3, 2025. 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