Personalising Epilepsy Regimes with Stem cells and artificial Intelligence models for Superior Treatment outcomes. (PERSIST)

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.

Supervisor – Professor Ernst Wolvetange.wolvetang@uq.edu.au

Our mission (PERSIST) applies a stem cell-based screen for the development of treatments for the complex disease epilepsy.  For more than 30% of epilepsy patients, the current trial-and-error approach to drug selection fails to improve seizure control. To address this major shortcoming in the management of drug-resistant epilepsy patients we propose to; a) use patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell derived brain organoids to identify drugs that are able to modulate hyperactive neural activity, b) create an integrated predictive model for drug selection via artificial intelligence (AI) analysis of in vitro, clinical, and genomics data sets, c) validate treatment predictions in vitro and in real-world clinical care settings.

The main question that we are trying to answer in the PERSIST mission is:

Can in vitro cultured hIPSC-derived brain organoids from drug resistant  epilepsy patients be used to predict anti-seizure drug regimens that are effective in real patients, and will artificial intelligence neural network approaches and scRNAseq analyses provide insight into the processes that cause drug resistance and make these predictions more accurate?     

AIMS:

  1. Use patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell derived brain organoids to identify drugs that are able to modulate hyperactive neural activity.
  2. Create an integrated predictive model for drug selection via artificial intelligence (AI) analysis approaches
  3. Validate treatment predictions in vitro and in real-world clinical epilepsy care settings.

Preferred educational background

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of human pluripotent stem cells, single cell RNA seq and/or bioinformnatics, and electrophysiology would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

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

A background or knowledge of neurobiology is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 2, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

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