The TELO-SCOPE study: Attenuating Telomere Attrition with Danazol. Is there Scope to Dramatically Improve Health Outcomes for Adults and Children with Pulmonary Fibrosis?

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 Daniel

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic, progressive and ultimately fatal lung disease. In Australia approximately 10,000 individuals are affected, and the prevalence is increasing. The median survival time from diagnosis ranges from only 2 to 4 years. Recently approved medications slow progression of fibrosis but do not reverse disease.

IPF occurs in older individuals with genetic mutations in genes that promote cellular ageing leading to chronic lung epithelium damage. Although epithelial cell replication repairs damage, cell division shortens DNA leading to unstable DNA, cell ageing and death. Shortening of DNA is evident in stretches of specialised repetitive DNA at the end of chromosomes called telomeres. Telomeres function as protective caps to prevent chromosomal degradation.

Several studies have established a correlation between susceptibility to IPF and reduced telomere length in peripheral white blood cells. Relative telomere length (TL) in these cells can be measured using a flow cytometry-based technique called Flow-FISH. Our team has evaluated Flow-FISH in peripheral blood and found it to be a robust sensitive assay, with telomere length decreasing with age and in IPF patients with previously identified telomerase mutations. Given the fidelity of the assay our team, in collaboration with clinicians, will test patients at risk of IPF and evaluate IPF drug trials with respect to TL with the ultimate goal of finding drugs that increase TL and prevent premature cell death.

This is a unique opportunity for a student to undertake translational research in the field of pulmonary medicine at The Prince Charles Hospital.

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 pulmonary disease, cell biology and genomics would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of health sciences/pulmonary diseases and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of genomics is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 2, 2023. 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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