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.

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

Project 1 Description
Demonstrate that resilience and long term persistence of recipient BM resident Macrophages is a common tissue protective mechanism in clinically relevant cytotoxic treatments and transplantation models.
Our published data demonstrates that resilience and persistence of recipient resident macrophages is essential for successful transplantation. These outcomes are based upon the pre-transplantation myeloablation strategy, total body irradiation, that is not commonly applied in the clinical setting. In this project, we will characterise the resilience and persistence of resident bone marrow macrophages after clinically-relevant chemotherapy or combination chemotherapy plus radiation-based pre-transplant myeloablation. This strategy will also determine whether recipient resident macrophages persist in the more complex scenario of allogeneic transplantation. This research aims to develop novel approaches to improve resilience to chemotherapy and improve recovery from bone marrow transplantation, making both clinical therapies safer.

Project 2 Description
Determine if recipient macrophages are essential to transplantation success in the early post-transplant period.
Resilience and persistence of recipient resident bone marrow macrophages is essential for successful transplantation outcomes; however, our preliminary data suggests that these cells are also critical to stem cell engraftment. This project will investigate the impact of recipient macrophage depletion in the early post-transplant period (first 4 weeks post-transplant) on donor stem cell engraftment using multiple in vivo models of macrophage depletion. The aim of this research project is to discovery novel therapeutic targets to promote bone marrow recovery after transplantation, thus improving the safety of the potentially curative treatment strategy.

Project 3 Description
In situ characterisation of tissue macrophage repopulation kinetics following bone marrow transplantation.
Recent experimental evidence has identified that certain macrophage populations undergo replacement via self-renewal instead of, replenishment by differentiating monocyte precursors. In this project we will use two transgenic mice strains that express different fluorescent markers in their macrophages (MacApple and MacGreen mice) in a bone marrow transplantation model to distinguish in which tissues do macrophage populations regenerate via self-renewal or via monocyte recruitment, or via a combination of both regeneration strategies.

Techniques you will learn in our group will include:
Animal handling techniques: including injections, total body irradiation, chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation.
Imaging: Immunohistochemistry and fluorescent imaging of tissue sections, whole-mounted tissues and intravital live imaging.
Flow cytometry: analysis of surface and intracellular markers of HSC and macrophage populations in various tissues.

Positions available for:
Honours Student

Contact Person: A/Prof Allison Pettit (PhD)
Email: allison.pettit@mater.uq.edu.au

Improvements in patient outcome following immunotherapy depend on understanding the immunological mechanisms by which these novel treatments control cancer. This project will use novel technologies that detect patient antibodies, and use these to measure T cell responses using flow cytometry. We aim to detect correlations in changes in immune responses to the clinical outcome of patients following immunotherapy.

Positions available for:
Research Higher Degree (PhD or MPhil)
Honours Student

Contact Person: Dr Gregor Kijanka
Email: gregor.kijanka@mater.uq.edu.au

This PhD project is suitable medical graduates, neonatologists or physiotherapists. It will not be appropriate for postgraduate science students. There is an APA scholarship attached to the project which limits eligibility to Australian residents.

Positions available for:
Research Higher Degree (PhD or MPhil)
MD Research Higher Degree (PhD or MPhil)

Contact Person: Professor Vicki Clifton
Email: vicki.clifton@mater.uq.edu.au

Understanding how benign moles can transform into lethal melanoma is critical in identifying the moles that are most likely to do so. This would have a major impact on the rates of malignant melanoma by reducing the reservoir of potential melanoma cells on at risk patients. This project will investigate a number of different mechanisms we have identified as defective in melanomas that could contribute to moles transforming into melanoma. The ultimate aims of the project is to discover markers that identify moles with a high probability of developing into melanomas, and new drug targets that will effectively destroy melanomas with these defects. A number of projects are available in this area.

Positions available for:
Research Higher Degree (PhD or MPhil)
MD Research Higher Degree (PhD or MPhil)
Honours Student

Contact Person: Brian Gabrielli
Email: brianG@uq.edu.au

We have identified cellular defects that are critical for cancer growth and survival in cervical cancer, and melanoma and lung cancer, and drugs that selectively inhibit these defective mechanisms delivering tumour specific killing. This project is to develop a better understand the defects and how these deliver their therapeutic benefit, and how we can enhance this benefit by better identifying the patients most likely to respond to these drugs, and improve this enhance the duration of benefit by using logically defined drug combinations. There are a number of projects available in this area.

Positions available for:
Research Higher Degree (PhD or MPhil)
MD Research Higher Degree (PhD or MPhil)
Honours Student

Contact Person: Brian Gabrielli
Email: brianG@uq.edu.au

Patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) are more susceptible infections in general and have a three fold increased risk of tuberculosis, but the reasons for this are largely unexplained. Patients with TB and T2D comorbidity respond poorly to standard TB treatment and are more likely to die compared to TB patients without T2D.

Our research groups aims to better understand the immunological and metabolic processes underlying increased susceptibility of T2D patients to infectious diseases with the ultimate goal to develop host directed therapies, which can improve treatment outcomes in T2D patients.

We currently have several opportunities available for students wanting to pursue a Honours, MPhil or PhD degree. If you would like to learn more about these opportunities, please contact us via the email below. Please make sure to add 'Response to student opportunities' in the email subject line.

Positions available for:
Research Higher Degree (PhD or MPhil)
Visiting Research Higher Degree

Contact Person: A/Prof Katharina Ronacher
Email: katharina.ronacher@mater.uq.edu.au

We are looking for keen and motivated students to participate in this exciting translational research project. Students will develop a vast skill set as well as working with an internationally recognised team.

Positions available for:
Research Higher Degree (PhD or MPhil)
MD Research Higher Degree (PhD or MPhil)
Visiting Research Higher Degree
Honours Student

Contact Person: Josephine Forbes
Email: josephine.forbes@mater.uq.edu.au

We are currently running a trial investigating the role of smell and taste in the nutrition of very preterm infants. There are currently no students involved, be we would be happy to discuss potential opportunities.

Positions available for:
MD Research Higher Degree (PhD or MPhil)
Visiting Research Higher Degree
Summer/Winter/Short Term Undergraduate
Honours Student

Contact Person: Friederike Beker
Email: friederike.beker@mater.org.au

Macrophages are specialised phagocytic cells that are present in all mammalian tissues, where they play critical roles in homeostasis and host defence. This Project utilizes novel transgenic rat lines that are deficient in the major macrophage growth factor, colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) or its receptor (CSF1R), and a novel macrophage reporter rat. Specific projects focus on the role of macrophages in the control of development, physiology, homeostasis and repair in major organ systems including liver, muscle and the gastrointestinal tract.

Positions available for:
Research Higher Degree (PhD or MPhil)
Honours Student

Contact Person: Katharine Irvine
Email: katharine.irvine@uq.edu.au

Chronic liver injury from a variety of causes results in progressive inflammation and scarring of the liver (fibrosis), which can lead to liver failure, liver cancer and death. The global burden of chronic liver disease is growing, and there are currently no anti-fibrotic therapies to halt disease progression or stimulate fibrosis resolution. Macrophages have been called the ‘master regulators’ of liver fibrosis; with established roles in both tissue injury and initiation of fibrosis and in fibrosis resolution, repair and regeneration of hepatocytes and hepatic architecture. In this Project we are investigating how the roles of resident and recruited macrophage populations in the progression and resolution of liver fibrosis are shaped by the changing microenvironment at different phases of chronic liver injury. Ultimately, the identification of mechanisms and mediators of liver fibrosis and repair could lead to novel therapeutic targets.

Positions available for:
Research Higher Degree (PhD or MPhil)
Honours Student

Contact Person: Dr Katharine Irvine
Email: katharine.irvine@uq.edu.au

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