Purine & pyrimidine metabolism as potential drug targets in Haemophilus influenzae

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.

Pathogenic bacteria interact with host cells on many levels, including via the exchange of metabolites.

In previous work, we have shown that Haemophilus influenzae, a bacterium that inhabits the human respiratory tract and causes diseases such as otitis media and pneumonia, has an unusual nutrient preference, where nucleosides and nucleotides play a major role. In this project, you will investigate how the uptake and conversion of purine and pyrimidine nucleosides affect the virulence of H. influenzae strains.

The project will use molecular microbiology approaches as well as infection assays to determine virulence changes and molecular investigations of infection-relevant parameters. We will also investigate the suitability of the target enzymes and transporters as future drug targets, a process that will be aided by the modelling of metabolic interactions and C13 tracer studies.

You will work closely with a diverse team of other scientists who are investigating links between H. influenzae nutritional requirements, virulence and resistance to common antimicrobials.

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)


Professor Ulrike Kappler

School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences

Email: u.kappler1@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 molecular microbiology and experience in handling pathogenic bacteria would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

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

A background or knowledge of bioinformatics/model creation is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

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