Oxidised cholesterols as Key Regulators of Host Immunity to Bacterial and Viral Respiratory Infections

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.

This new study will investigate the role of oxidised cholesterols in respiratory infection outcomes in murine models of M. tuberculosis and SARS-CoV-2 infection and clinical samples from healthy controls and patients with tuberculosis and COVID-19. The study, led by Professor Katharina Ronacher, has been awarded a grant by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The study will build on our published work which showed that oxysterols facilitate macrophage infiltration into the lung via the oxysterol-sensing G protein-coupled receptor GPR183 in tuberculosis, influenza, and SARS-CoV-2 infection (Foo CX Eur Respr J 2022 PMID  36396144, Ngo MD 2022 J Infect Dis PMID 35303091). We further demonstrated that blocking GPR183 significantly improved SARS-CoV-2 infection outcomes. This project will further elucidate the mechanisms of oxysterol action both in vivo and in vitro with the aim to develop novel host-directed therapies to improve respiratory infection outcomes.

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)


Honorary Professor Katharina Ronacher

Faculty of Medicine

Email: katharina.ronacher@mater.uq.edu.au

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 microbiology, immunology, or virology would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of microbiology, immunology, virology and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of immunology, microbiology, virology, and laboratory animal handling is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

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