Submit your expression of interest for a Student Research Project

Mater Research offers research project opportunities across biomedical or medical research, nursing, midwifery or allied health for university students interested in undertaking an undergraduate, honours, masters by research, PhD or MPhil project. 

Our current student research opportunities are listed below.

If you are unable to find a project in the list of current student opportunities that is in the your area of interest, please email us to discuss your options.

How to submit your expression of interest  

Step 1: Find a project
Review the current project vacancies listed below to find a project that matches your area of interest, and ensure you meet the eligibility requirements. 

Step 2: Submit your expression of interest application online 
Click the apply now button at the bottom of the project listing to and complete the online Expression of Interest application form. As part of your expression of interest application, you are required to provide an up to date copy of your CV as well as your most recent academic transcript. 

Step 3: Your expression of interest application will be reviewed by the project supervisor.
If your application is then shortlisted, then the project supervisor will contact you directly to advise next steps.

Current Student Opportunities

Tumour genomes are frequently highly rearranged relative to the corresponding non-tumour genome along with aberrant CpG methylation and gene regulation. Current second-generation sequencing technologies are limited in their ability to resolve genome and transcript structure as well as interrogate genome-wide methylation status. Long-read third-generation sequencing technologies mark a significant improvement in our ability to address these issues and better understand tumour biology. This project will aim to develop and apply novel computational methods for studying tumour rearrangements and aberrations in genome-wide regulatory status in epithelial solid tumours.


Positions available for:
Honours, PhD, MPhil

Contact Person: Dr Adam Ewing

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 58KB)

Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is the leading cause of end stage renal disease globally, affecting between 30-40% of patients with diabetes, drastically increasing patients’ risk for cardiovascular mortality and death. Current treatment regimens slow but don’t prevent disease, as such, there is a clinical need for therapies that prevent or ameliorate DKD. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been identified as one of the main pathways contributing to the pathogenesis of DKD but different components of the kidney have very different metabolic preferences, different mitochondrial densities and respond differently to the change in metabolic fuels available in diabetes. We have been trialling a novel redox modulating agent that shows efficacy at improving diabetic kidney disease in animal models, but the mechanism of action is not yet understood. In this project we wish to examine the effects of diabetes and glucose modulation (mimicking the increased glucose variability experienced by patients with diabetes) on different renal cell populations in the context of other important factors present in the diabetic milieu (inflammatory cytokines, growth factors). Here, we wish to both further our understanding of the effects of diabetes on mitochondrial function in the different cell types that populate the kidney and to discover the mechanism of action of our redox therapy in diabetic kidney cells.


Positions available for:
Honours

Contact Person: Dr Amelia Fotheringham

Interested? Download the information flyer (PDF, 65KB) now.

Our laboratory is investigating the interactions between two immune cell types: natural killer (NK) cells and dendritic cells (DCs). NK cells play an essential role in the early detection of infections or malignant transformation while DCs initiate and direct immune responses. Evidence for bi-directional interactions between NK cells and DCs has been provided in the early 2000s. Since then, our knowledge of NK cell and DC diversity has considerably increased. NK cells and DCs can no longer be considered as homogenous populations up to 30,000 phenotypic populations identified by mass cytometry in one individual while four main human DC subsets have been described: monocyte-derived DCs, plasmacytoid DCs and type 1 and 2 conventional DCs. Currently, we don’t know which NK subset(s) interact with which DC subset(s). The Honours project aims to define which NK cell subsets mediate DC activation.


Positions available for:
Honours

Contact Person: Dr Camille Guillerey

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 64KB)

EXPLOITING THE HOST RESPONSE TO RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS FOR NOVEL THERAPIES



Our laboratory studies the host response to viral and bacterial respiratory infections with particular focus on innate immunity in the lung. We discovered that lung infections lead to the production of oxidised cholesterols, which facilitate the migration of macrophages into the lung which drives inflammation.



We further found an oxysterol receptor antagonist significantly reduced viral loads and inflammation in animals infected with SARS-CoV-2 and resulted in less severe disease.



This project will now investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying these observations.



Note: The honours student will NOT work with live SARS-CoV-2 during this project and the project will be entirely PC2 laboratory based.


Positions available for:
Honours

Contact Person: Associate Professor Katharina Ronacher

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 66KB)

People with intellectual disability experience significant health disparity and engage in less preventive health actions than the general population. Practice nurses are now common in general practice and are an untapped resource for building capacity in intellectual disability health in primary care. We will deliver an intervention which includes (i) specialised intellectual disability nurse support, (ii) training for practice nurses to deliver the CHAP annual health assessment tool, (iii) an online primary care education package; and (iv) online resources.



A cluster-randomised trial design will be used to evaluate the evidence for improved preventive health outcomes including vaccinations, metabolic syndrome screening and cancer screening in people with intellectual disability aged 15 years and over.


Positions available for:
MPhil, PhD

Contact Person: Dr Katie Brooker

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 60KB)

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which include ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD), are chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Anemia represents the most common complication in IBD, prevailing in 27% of patients with CD and 21% of patients UC. Anemia is associated with poor quality of life, increased rate of hospitalization and deaths in IBD. Anemia in patients with IBD arise due to iron deficiency anemia (IDA) and anemia of inflammation (AI). Most anaemic IBD patients are treated with iron supplementation, but half do not respond to iron supplementation therapies. In this project, we aim to explore the mechanisms of AI to identify possible interventions to treat AI in IBD.



The project will involve mouse model of IBD including experiment colitis and mouse lacking cytokine interleukin-10 and sepsis. The markers of anaemia and erythropoiesis will be analysed by flow cytometry, blood cell count and qRT-PCR.


Positions available for:
Honours

Contact Person: Dr Kavita Bisht

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 73KB)

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are chronic blood cancers that produce extreme numbers of mature blood cells, which clog blood vessels causing blood clotting. Most MPN patients require life-long drug treatments to control their blood cell numbers and live with the constant risk of evolution of the disease to more aggressive myelofibrosis or acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), where average survival is less than 5 years for myelofibrosis and 6 months for AML. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop better therapies for MPN patients.



Blasts from patients produce abnormally high levels of the inflammatory cytokine oncostatin-M (OSM), suggesting that OSM may play an unappreciated major role in the pathobiology of MPNs. This project is to investigate the role of OSM and its receptor OSMR on MPN disease progression and MPN response to treatment in pre-clinical models. This will establish whether OSM could be a therapeutic target to better treat MPN. 



The project will involve mouse model of MPN including bone marrow transplantation from mouse mutated for MPN. The progression of MPN will be monitored by blood cell counts (once a month) by regular tail bleeds, and mice will be harvested 18-20 weeks post transplantation. MPN progression will be analysed by flow cytometry, blood cell count and qRT-PCR, immunohistochemistry.


Positions available for:
Honours

Contact Person: Dr Kavita Bisht

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 72KB)

Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation (HSCT) is a potentially curative treatment for wide range of blood cancers and disorders. HSCT associated risk factors and complications, including bone marrow (BM) toxicity remain a significant barrier to decision to treat and are a major driver of associated health costs. Despite decades of HSCT protocol refinement, there is still minimal understanding of underlying mechanisms and particularly if there is a convergence point determining treatment critical toxicity levels. We and others have demonstrated that bone marrow resident macrophages provide multifaceted support of haematopoiesis including instructing the specialized HSC niches. The honours project will work towards testing the hypothesis whether macrophage resilience is a key requirement for bone marrow recovery after cancer therapy.


Positions available for:
Honours

Contact Person: Prof. Allison Pettit

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 59KB)

Resident macrophages are an integral part of all tissues and perform a diverse array of functions that are adapted to their specific host tissue/environment. For instance, in the bone and marrow, osteal macrophages regulate bone regeneration, erythroid Island macrophages support formation of mature red blood cells and HSC (haematopoietic stem cell) niche macrophages support health and function of primitive blood stem cells. To date, characterization of these macrophage subsets has been confounded by their fragmentation during tissue disaggregation techniques and adherence of macrophage remnants to other cell types. This project will develop effective methods to isolate these co-located but distinct macrophage populations, in order to facilitate profiling the specific molecular differences underpinning their unique functions. The extent to which macrophage fragmentation impacts isolation of macrophages from non-haematopoietic tissues (eg Kupffer cells from liver, microglia from brain) will also be assessed. The success of macrophage isolation strategies will be confirmed by visualizing cells by imaging flow cytometry. The yield of macrophage isolation strategies will be assessed by comparing flow cytometry data with visualization of macrophages within tissues.


Positions available for:
Honours

Contact Person: Prof. Allison Pettit

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 58KB)

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disorder affecting millions of people worldwide. Currently, there is no cure available and individuals with T1D rely on multiple daily injections of exogenous insulin for disease management. It is a T cell mediated disorder resulting from a loss of tolerance to self. The regulatory T cells (Tregs) are important regulators of tolerance and are defective in T1D. This leads to destruction of pancreatic insulin producing beta-cells by autoreactive CD8+ T cells.



Receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE) is an immunoglobulin-like receptor implicated in a wide range of inflammatory conditions including T1D. We have previously shown that RAGE inhibition leads to increase in regulatory T cells (Tregs), decrease in pathogenic CD8+ T cells and delays disease development in mice.



This project will build upon exciting data previously generated in our laboratory. It will aim will be to characterise phenotypic and functional properties of Tregs both in vitro and in vivo using transgenic mouse models of T1D, multi-parameter flow cytometry and microscopy.


Positions available for:
Honours

Contact Person: Dr Irina Buckle

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 77KB)

It is well recognized that gut microbiota shapes the human immunity and play important role in regulating nearly all aspect of human disease development. Literature suggests that antibiotic administration leads to worse side-effects in patients treated with cancer therapies. 

In this project, we aim to understand how the disruption of gut microbiota can lead to local tissue damage and contribute to increased side-effects of cancer therapy in pre-clinical mouse models.



 


Positions available for:
Honours, PhD or MPhil

Contact Person: Associate Professor Ingrid Winkler

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 68KB)

Inflammatory T cell response is regulated by the microenvironment including nutrient, microbiota, and innate immune cells. In addition to existing niche regulators, we are interested in looking at vasculature adhesion molecules as novel niche regulator in shaping inflammatory T cell response in pre-clinical model of multiple sclerosis.


Positions available for:
Honours, MPhil , PhD

Contact Person: Dr Ran Wang

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 68KB)

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. 



Metabolic diseases, including obesity and its associated spectrum of pathologies, represent some the greatest health challenges we currently face. Macrophages, cells of the innate immune system, regulate many aspects of metabolism in health and disease. They form abundant resident populations in major metabolic tissues such as liver and fat, where they regulate energy homeostasis and prevent inflammation. But recruited or activated macrophages contribute to inflammation-driven metabolic maladaptation that is central to the development of metabolic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. We have discovered that stimulating macrophages can induce liver growth and alter body composition – promoting increased lean mass, reduced fat mass and reduced liver fat. We hypothesise that macrophages are a component of the regulatory network that controls metabolic homeostasis, which has clear therapeutic implications for obesity and related pathologies. This PhD project will investigate the mechanisms underlying macrophage regulation of metabolism in health and disease. 


Positions available for:
Research Higher Degree

Contact Person: Dr Katharine Irvine

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 72KB)

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.



Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation (HSCT) is a potentially curative treatment for blood cancers and other diseases and can supplement high-dose chemotherapy in treatment resistant solid tumours. HSCT associated risk factors and complications remain a significant barrier to decision to treat and are a major driver of associated health costs. Despite decades of HSCT protocol refinement, treatment related morbidity and mortality remain barriers to decision to treat using this strategy. We and others have demonstrated that bone marrow resident macrophages provide multifaceted support of haematopoiesis including instructing the specialized HSC niches. Our novel findings that bone marrow resident macrophages are resilient to a myeloablative radiation dose and, after HSCT, provide critical support to HSC engraftment and bone marrow reconstitution.



This PhD project will work toward testing the hypothesis that resident macrophage resilience is a critical regenerative mechanism against bone marrow damaged caused by many types of myelosuppressive cancer therapies. Using preclinical approaches to generate novel knowledge, this PhD project will contribute to examining macrophage resilience to a broad range of cancer therapies and determine if a minimum threshold of macrophage resilience determine the difference between a tolerated versus lethal dose of cytotoxic therapies.


Positions available for:
Research higher degree

Contact Person: Professor Allison Pettit

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 65KB)

This project aims to elucidate placental changes in pregnancies complicated by perinatal hypoxia. It will involve developing models of trophoblast culture, investigating hypoxia related changes and potentially identifying suitable biomarkers for clinical use to identify pregnancies at risk. This project will be nested within a larger Medical Research Future Fund funded trial.


Positions available for:
Honours, PhD

Contact Person: Professor Sailesh Kumar

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 56KB)

Immune activation is the key to combat bacterial and viral infections. However, in some cases, overactivated immune cells are not only killing the bacteria or virus, but also causing damage to our own body. This is believed to be the major cause for a range of inflammatory conditions like inflammatory bowel diseases.



Mucosal T cell response is regulated by the microenvironment including nutrient, microbiota, and innate immune cells. In addition to existing niche controllers, we are interested in looking at vasculature adhesion molecules as a novel niche regulator in shaping mucosal T cell response in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.


Positions available for:
Honours Student

Contact Person: Dr Ran Wang

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 53KB)

Our research team is working on translational projects consisting in the development of innovative agents for cancer detection and treatment.



Our research projects are segregated into several aims:




  1. Identification of novel cancer-specific targets: Interrogation of publicly available databases; Determine targets’ expression by immunohistochemistry or mass spectrometry using patients-derived material

  2. Development of novel targeting agents: Generation of antibodies in pre-clinical models; Production of recombinant proteins; Screening of ligand libraries, Chemistry of antibodies to conjugate ligand with various payloads (radionucleotide, cytotoxins, …)

  3. Pre-clinical testing of agents: In vitro testing on cancer cell lines and patient-derived material; Utilization of pre-clinical models for cancer imaging (PET/CT) and therapy.



Be involved in our research project means that you will be integrated in a translational research team which works at developing novel agents to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer with the ultimate goal to improve cancer patients’ life.


Positions available for:
Honours, MPhil, PhD

Contact Person: Dr Thomas Kryza

Interested? Download the information flyer (PDF, 141Kb) now.

Chronic and uncontrollable stress such as that experienced during the current COVID-19 pandemic is a major risk factor for many neuropsychiatric disorders, including anxiety and depression, for which treatment remains a challenge. Therefore, the search for neurobiological mechanisms, specifically those involving defined cell subtype(s) or circuit(s) that confer resilience i.e. the ability to avoid deleterious behavioural changes in response to chronic stress, represents a novel strategy for discovering antidepressant therapeutics. 



The discovery of neurogenesis (i.e. the production and integration of new neurons) in the adult mammalian brain has emerged as an unparalleled mechanism to understand how life experiences shape cellular plasticity, and in turn alter behavioural outcomes. A major focus of our lab is to understand how adult-born neurons contribute to the development of, and recovery from, stress-induced affective behaviour. Using mouse models, our lab has uncovered an important role for adult-born neurons in the regulation of anxiety-like behaviour.  Recently, advanced transcriptomics approaches have identified new molecular candidates that may play critical role(s) in this mechanism of stress resilience. 



The primary aim of the project is to establish whether and how these candidate genes contribute to stress-induced anxiety-like behaviour.


Positions available for:
Honours, PhD

Contact Person: Dr Dhanisha Jhaveri

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 125KB)

Stillbirth affects over 2,100 families annually in Australia, often preceded by maternal perception of decreased fetal movement. My Baby’s Movements trial (MBM) was a stepped-wedge cluster-randomised controlled trial of a fetal movement awareness intervention to reduce stillbirths, implemented between 2016-2019. MBM aimed to evaluate the impact on stillbirth rates of a multifaceted awareness package, including a novel mobile phone application (app) for pregnant women to monitor their baby’s movements. Mobile apps have become an integral source of information for women during pregnancy; however, limited evidence exists to support the impact of mobile apps, compared to other communication methods, on maternal behaviour change or perinatal health outcomes. This project aims to analyse the MBM app usage data and associated perinatal health outcomes of women who participated in MBM.


Positions available for:
Honours, MPhil, PhD

Contact Person: Dr Harriet Lawford

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 61KB)

The QLD Family cohort team are working towards a visionary program of research that will undertake a view of the current health and wellbeing of families across Queensland to understand parental health, aging and its impact on pregnancy outcomes. Its vision is to determine how a baby’s health and exposures in early life impacts the risk of disease development or health and wellbeing later in life. 



They are doing this through recruitment of 12,500 families across the state to collect in-depth data on families across 21 research themes. Families can also donate a variety of biological samples for discovery-based projects. The study aims to understand influences of the environment, lifestyles, backgrounds on the biological mechanisms that drive chronic disease risk and determine if there were any early markers of poor health that could have been addressed to prevent future adverse health outcomes. 



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have the right to self-determine health priorities, and research directions. Our team has a focus to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community voices are embedded within research protocols of the QLD Family cohort study. This project will work with a number of Indigenous communities of QLD to determine the health research priorities around disease, lifestyle, wellbeing and culture for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families of these communities.



The student will use qualitative skills in undertaking this work and will co-design a protocol for the QLD Family Cohort that is supported by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.  Following on from the co-designed protocol the student will undertake establishment of the protocol at a small number of sites, and a preliminary implementation analysis to determine successful models of implementation within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.



 The student will collaborate within a larger research team from the QLD Family Cohort study as well as within the QLD Family Cohort Research Consortium that has ~ 150 scientists from multiple disciplines.


Positions available for:
PhD

Contact Person: Associate Professor Kym Rae

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 53KB)

Transposable elements are sequences of DNA derived from viruses and genetic parasites. At one stage, transposable elements were able to propagate throughout our genome. They now account for roughly half of our genetic material. Over evolutionary time, the vast majority of transposable elements have become immobile and no longer replicate. However, many remnant transposable element sequences have been co-opted into regulatory functions to fine-tune cellular gene expression. Because of their repetitive nature, co-option of transposable elements can serve as a means for coordinating expression from a network of genes involved in a given biological process. 

This project aims to identify transposable elements that drive transcriptional programs in preclinical models of solid tumours. We will identify and characterise the protein complexes that effect transposable element regulatory function. Further, we will modulate transposable element expression and investigate the effect on tumour progression and therapeutic outcomes. 

The PhD candidate will be supervised by Dr Natasha Jansz (Mater Research) and Professor Geoff Faulkner (Mater Research/QBI).


Positions available for:
PhD

Contact Person: Dr Natasha Jansz

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 62KB)

Food insecurity can be attributed to various physical and economic factors present in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including limited food supplies, and lack of affordability of quality produce and nutritional education.  In the past year, more than one in five Australians (about 22%) have faced food insecurity. Indigenous Australians experience food insecurity at a disproportionate rate. More than 26% of Indigenous households ran out of food at least once in 2019 and were unable to buy more due to high prices. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) found that percentage to be even higher at 43% in remote Indigenous communities.[3]



More recently, conversations related to nutritional sources have reflected upon food sovereignty, food sources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Food sovereignty draws upon the community’s relationship with their land, food sources on country and the ongoing losses to land.



Nutrition is a key environmental influence in the early developmental stages, and optimal nutrition throughout the lifespan is protective of a broad range of adverse health outcomes. A healthy, nourishing diet is important for maternal health during pregnancy and for optimal foetal growth and development. Equally, in the period following pregnancy, a healthy diet is important for mothers to manage any pregnancy weight gain and as well as for children to support the growth and development as the grow and become increasingly active.



To date, there is limited existing literature that reports on how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers make their decisions around nutrition for themselves and their families. This team has a focus to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community voices are embedded within health interventions, including those related to nutrition and health.



This project will work with a number of Indigenous communities of Australia to determine the views of Indigenous women around conceptualisation around food and its associations with culture, nutrition decision making during this time for their families.



The student will have opportunities to use both qualitative and quantitative skills to undertake this work.



 The student will collaborate within a larger research team from the NHMRC TCR Grant titled: ‘Indigenous worldview’s incorporated into m-health approaches for Indigenous women and children’. This project involves a multidisciplinary team from the areas of Indigenous health, nutrition, software engineering and app design that spans a number of institutes.


Positions available for:
PhD

Contact Person: Associate Professor Kym Rae

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 307KB)

This project aims to provide a better understanding of the crosstalk between distinct NK cell and DC subsets. Specific interactions between human cell subsets in response to different stimuli will be investigated in vitro and in vivo. By addressing an important knowledge gap in the field, this project will lay the foundation for preclinical research in a wide range of pathologies including cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders.


Positions available for:
Bachelor, Masters

Contact Person: Camille Guillerey

Are you ready to expand your research knowledge? Download the information flyer (PDF, 70KB)

Metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes (T2D) increase severity of bacterial and viral lung infections. The underlying immune-metabolic mechanisms however remain elusive.



Our laboratory has recently shown that oxidised cholesterols and the oxidised cholesterol receptor GPR183, expressed on innate and adaptive immune cells, are important players in Mycobacterium tuberculosis pathogenesis: a) decreased expression of GPR183 in blood from tuberculosis (TB) patients with T2D is associated with more severe TB disease, b) activation of GPR183 by the oxysterol 7a25OHC induces autophagy and reduces intracellular bacterial growth and c) GPR183 is a negative regulator of type I IFNs. Bartlett S, et.al. Frontiers Immunology 2020 https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.601534



This project expands on our published work to investigate the role of oxysterols in viral infections and determine the impact of cholesterol lowering medications on systemic and local oxysterol production in the lung and respiratory infection outcomes in preclinical murine models.


Positions available for:
Honours, MPhil and PhD

Contact Person: A/Prof Katharina Ronacher

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 70kB)

Benign moles or nevi are proliferations of melanocytes, the pigment producing cells in the skin.  The melanocytes proliferate in an uncontrolled manner for a short period of time, resulting the in mole but then stop and normally remain benign for the person’s lifetime.  However, very infrequently (>1/300,000) they will continue to develop to melanoma.  One of the changes that characterises the change is increased genomic instability, loss or gain of chromosomes or parts of chromosome.  We have identified a potential mechanism by which this might occur, and interestingly, components of this mechanism are common targets for genomic loss in early melanomas.  Projects are available to investigate how this occurs, and what initially triggers the genomic instability.  This project intersects cancer cell biology and genomics.  


Positions available for:
Honours, PhD

Contact Person: Professor Brian Gabrielli

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 55KB)

The success of immunotherapies has demonstrated that harnessing the patient’s immune system to combat their cancer is feasible strategy that can lead to long term remissions.  However, cancer have developed a wide range of strategies to avoid immune surveillance.  We have found that by using drugs that selectively target defects in cancers the result increased DNA damage and cell death we can overcome the immune suppressive mechanisms of cancer to promote enhanced anti-cancer immune responses.  There are projects available to investigate these approaches working in the intersection between cancer cell biology and immunology.


Positions available for:
Honours students, PhD students

Contact Person: Professor Brian Gabrielli

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 53KB)

Stillbirths and neonatal deaths are a devastating event for both families and health professionals. Structured clinical management following perinatal death is required to ensure appropriate investigation into causes of death occurs, to understand prevention, and to ensure appropriate bereavement care is provided to families. The ‘Improving Perinatal Mortality Review and Outcomes Via Education’ (IMPROVE) workshop established by the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand has been designed to address this need. In 2020, the IMPROVE program was developed into an eLearning program hosted by the Stillbirth Centre for Research Excellence (Stillbirth CRE).



This study will evaluate the online IMPROVE program using questions based on the New World Kirkpatrick Model (NWKM), providing an understanding of how this education is received online compared to the previous face to face model .


Positions available for:
Honours, MPhil, PhD

Contact Person: Dr Christine Andrews

Would you like to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 63KB)

Mucosal epithelial cells in the lung, are uniquely positioned at the interface between the host immune system and an environment teeming with antigens. We are interested in looking at the pathways that regulate epithelial cell antigen presentation, their role and whether this is disrupted with age, making the elderly more susceptible to infection.


Positions available for:
Highly motivated individual with an interest in immunology and a willingness to progress work with further studies (PhD) after completing the Honours.

Contact Person: A/Prof Sumaira Hasnain

Join the team and use state-of-the-art lab facilities. Download the information flyer (PDF, 62KB).

Macrophages are specialised phagocytic cells that are present in all mammalian tissues, where they play critical roles in homeostasis and host defence. A PhD opportunity is available on an Australian Research Council-funded Discovery Project for a student with an honours/master’s degree in immunology, physiology, molecular biology or a related field to join the Macrophage Biology research group at Mater Research.


Positions available for:
Graduate

Contact Person: Dr Katharine Irvine

Expand your research skills with this diverse team. Download the information flyer (PDF, 69KB)for more information.

Most organs contain Stem cells—yet we still do not fully understand how Stem Cells are normally controlled in the body, or what stops them from becoming malignant.

Our team’s focus is on how the micro-environment (or niche) tells stem cell what they can and cannot do in the body.


Positions available for:
These research projects involve preclinical mouse models of disease and treatment. Although preclinical research is highly rewarding and clinically relevant, they also require commitment to ensuring your animals are fine as well as strong creative thinking and critical evaluation skills.

Contact Person: A/Prof Ingrid Winkler

Is this your niche? Find out more from the information flyer (PDF, 73KB).

Most organs contain Stem cells—yet we still do not fully understand how Stem Cells are normally controlled in the body, or what stops them from becoming malignant.

Our team’s focus is on how the micro-environment (or niche) tells stem cell what they can and cannot do in the body. We believe the identification and targeting of such niche factors will lead towards the discovery of novel therapeutics to further enhance the efficacy of cancer therapy and alleviate cancer therapy side-effects.


Positions available for:
These research projects involve preclinical mouse models of disease and treatment. Although preclinical research is highly rewarding and clinically relevant, they also require commitment to ensuring your animals are fine as well as strong creative thinking and critical evaluation skills.

Contact Person: A/Prof Ingrid Winkler

Want to help alleviate cancer therapy side effects? Grab your copy of the information flyer (PDF, 74KB) and join the team today.

This project will investigate immune responses to leukaemia in order to develop new immunotherapies. We will focus on Natural Killer (NK) cells, a population of lymphocytes that owe their name to their ability to recognise and kill tumour cells. Early studies suggested that NK cells could protect against leukaemia. However, leukaemia tumours have developed an arsenal of mechanisms to escape from NK cell killing. A better understanding of these immune escape mechanisms is a prerequisite to the design of effective NK cell-based therapy.


Positions available for:
This project is suitable for Honours or Master students. A good knowledge of Immunology is required.

Contact Person: Camille Guillerey

Interested? Download the information flyer (PDF, 64KB) now.

Photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy (light therapy) is a safe, non-invasive, non-pharmacological method of treating / preventing symptoms such as pain and fatigue, promoting healing and reducing inflammation. Photonic energy stimulates mitochondrial activity (mitochondria are the powerhouse of cells). Depending on the targeted cells, different effects have been identified. There are five projects currently in various stages of development at the Mater.


Positions available for:
Please read flyer for study relevant qualifications

Contact Person: Prof Liisa Laakso

Find out more from the information flyer (PDF, 78KB).

People with intellectual and developmental disability experience numerous barriers to accessing hospital based healthcare. As a result, people with intellectual and developmental disability experience poor health outcomes and die earlier.  This project aims to gain an in-depth understand the barriers people with intellectual and developmental disability experience using qualitative methods. Using a co-design approach we will develop of tools, resources and training aimed at improving the accessibility of the health system. We will implement the tools, resources and training and evaluate their effectiveness.


Positions available for:
Individuals wanting to improve health for marginalised population and develop qualitative research skills

Contact Person: Dr Katie Brooker

Download your copy of the information flyer (PDF, 64KB) and find out more about this project.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gut. It is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer (colitis associated cancer – CAC). Our group has previously demonstrated that a medication called thioguanine, which is sometimes used in the treatment of ulcerative colitis, can prevent CAC in a murine model by inhibition of B-catenin, a transcription factor commonly activated in colon cancers. Molecular modelling indicated that there may be a direct interaction between thioguanine and B-catenin. This project will determine if this interaction can be observed in vitro and in vivo. If the interaction is confirmed this will be mapped and potentially confirmed using structural biology.


Positions available for:
This project would be suitable for an Honours candidate who has taken lab based courses and is familiar with basic laboratory techniques. Prior experience with protein biochemistry is a plus but not required. This project could easily be expanded into a PhD project in the future.

Contact Person: Jakob Begun

Join the project now. Find out more from the information flyer (PDF, 89KB)

Mounting evidence supports a central role for the gut-brain axis in development of Parkinson’s disease (PD). We are analysing in-house and publicly available genomic datasets, including spatial and single cell transcriptomics from mouse models and human samples to progress understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in gut-to-brain spread of cellular pathology in PD.


Positions available for:
Students with strong quantitative skills (programming, statistics, HPC) and an interest in human genetics and neurodegeneration are encouraged to apply.

Contact Person: Dr Jake Gratten

Want to take part in this research project? Download the information flyer (PDF, 64KB) and find out how.

The bacteria within the gut microbiome produce a variety of metabolites and bioactives with untapped biologic activity.



Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in Australia with significant morbidity and mortality. It has been associated with an altered microbiota. My group has successfully identified multiple anti-inflammatory bioactives from cultured gut bacteria. We now wish to expand this program to identify potential bacterially derived anti-cancer bioactives that could be used as future therapeutics.


Positions available for:
This project would be suitable for an Honours candidate who has taken lab based courses and is familiar with basic laboratory techniques. Prior experience with cell culture work is a plus but not required.

Contact Person: Jakob Begun

See yourself here? Why not download the information flyer (PDF, 74KB) and find out more.