Structure-function brain network dynamics in post-stroke depression

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.

Post-stroke depression is a common neuropsychiatric complication after stroke, which adversely affects recovery. To date, there is no evidence for a link between lesion location and depressive symptom development. Brain-based mechanisms and risk-factors leading to this debilitating condition are therefore poorly understood.

This PhD program provides a unique cross-disciplinary research opportunity between Neuroscience, Engineering and Medicine. The primary focus of this project is to develop and test neuroimaging network analytical methods to investigate structure-function brain dynamics in healthy individuals. These methods will then be applied to neuroimaging data collected from post-stroke depression patients to investigate structural and functional changes caused by lesions originating in various regions of the brain. The aim of this project is to elucidate mechanisms by which lesions induce changes in remote brain regions that lead to the development of post-stroke depression.

The successful candidate will have access to large behavioral, cognitive and neuroimaging datasets from healthy controls and diverse samples of stroke survivors. There is potential for student-led ideas for projects investigating post-stroke complications using neuroimaging methods. The student will be supervised by Dr Lena Oestreich and Prof. Michael O’Sullivan at the University of Queensland and co-supervised by A/Prof. Andrew Zalesky. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to spend time in A/Prof. Zalesky’s group at Melbourne University if beneficial to the project.

Highly motivated students with strengths in neuroimaging, biological psychology, neuropsychiatry and/or computational sciences are encouraged to apply.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $28,854 per annum tax free (2022 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Dr Lena Oestreich

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 basic computer programming (MATLAB/Python), Linux shell scripting and analysis of clinical and neuroimaging (MRI) data would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of neuroscience, engineering, psychology or medicine and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of network analysis (graph theory), MRI analysis, stroke/depression and basic computer programming (MATLAB/Python) 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