Wolbachia pipiens in natural populations in Australia: their potential as a mosquito population suppression tool

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 bacteria Wolbachia pipiens can induce a phenomena called cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) in mosquitoes. In this, the sperm from Wolbachia-infected males can produce inviable progeny in females not carrying that strain of Wolbachia. These CI phenotype Wolbachia strains can transfected into important arbovirus vector species for utility as a sterile/incompatible male releases population suppression tool. The first aim of the project is to assess another wPip strain that has been found in Australian populations Culex molestus, Aedes scutellaris  and Aedes notoscriptus. Conformation of a CI phenotype  will occur by clearing the Wolbachia by tetracycline antibiotic treatment and then back crossing Wolbachia-cleared females with Wolbachia-carrying males. Inviable eggs would confirm CI. With CI confirmed attempts will be made to transfect the Wolbachia into Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictuis through embryo microinjections to generate a incompatible insect technique biological tool for this important vector species.

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)


Associate Professor Nigel Beebe

School of Biological Sciences

Email: n.beebe@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 mosquito/insect biology would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

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

A background or knowledge of entomology 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