Targeting replication stress to improve immune recognition and reduce immunosuppressive in the tumour microenvironment

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.

High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is the most lethal gynaecologic malignancy with a 5-year survival rate of <40% and accounts for more than 1000 deaths in Australia each year.  The majority of HGSOC have elevated replication stress, and the Gabrielli lab has demonstrated that tumours with elevated replication stress can be selectively targeted using a combination of low-dose hydroxyurea and Checkpoint kinase 1 inhibitor. This treatment triggers pro-inflammatory cytokine expression and an immunogenic form of cell death that together enhance anti-tumour immune responses. Significantly, we have demonstrated this combination has little normal tissue toxicity including to adaptive immune responses. Our preliminary data demonstrate that this combination effectively targets HGSOC in vitro and in vivo and reduce immune suppressive signals. In this research project we will investigate the effectiveness of this combination in HGSOC in vivo, its ability to promote an effective anti-tumour immune response and assess the immunotherapy that best enhances the immune response. We will utilise genetically diverse novel mouse and ex vivo patient-derived ascites models to provide evidence of the effectiveness and immune responses triggered by this treatment.

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 Brian Gabrielli

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 cancer cell biology, targeted therapies or cancer immunology would be beneficial although not required.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of cancer cell biology, targeted therapies, cancer immunology and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of general immunology is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 3, 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