The role of the ghrelin receptor in modifying the activity of other GPCRs

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.

The Ghrelin receptor is a relatively recently discovered member of the G protein-coupled receptor family. It has important roles in growth and appetite regulation, with its endogenous activator (ghrelin) being the only know peripheral orexigenic hormone. The Ghrelin receptor is expressed widely throughout the central nervous system and has been implicated in regulating voluntary defectation, feeding reward and feeding motivation (amongst others). Very surprisingly ghrelin itself (the receptor's activator) is absent from the central nervous system and peripheral ghrelin is not able to cross the blood brain barrier. We believe that the Ghrelin receptor exerts its central nervous system effects by altering the way other G protein-coupled receptors, such as dopamine D2 and dopamine D1 recepto, signal. This project will investigate the interaction of the Ghrelin receptor with other proposed partner receptors at the cellular and subcellular level using a range of signalling and biophysical assays. An understanding of the mechanism by which the Ghrelin receptor modulates the activity of other G protein-coupled receptors can be used to better understand both the underlying physiology and the possibilities for drug intervention in relevant pathologies such as chronic constipation and obesity.

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 Sebastian Furness

Faculty of Medicine


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 pharmacology, biochemistry and cell biology would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of biology, with a preference for achievement in either biochemistry or pharmacology and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of human physiology is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2023. 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