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.

Open opportunities

Understanding the Stem Cell Niche – and malignant cell hijack

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.

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

Investigating Natural Killer Cell Responses to Leukaemia

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.

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

Making cancer therapy safer – new strategies to alleviate cancer therapy side-effects

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.

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

Photonic energy as an alternative to drugs(in common conditions that have no alternative treatments)

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.

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

Understanding the biology and consequences of nutrient sulfate deficiency in preterm infants​

Sulfate is an essential nutrient for healthy growth and development. During pregnancy sulfate is supplied from mother to fetus via the placenta. Babies born very or extremely preterm (<32 weeks gestation) lack the capacity to generate their own sulfate and rapidly become sulfate deficient. Understanding the consequences of sulfate deficiency, particularly adverse neurodevelopment, and the genes that maintain sulfate supply to the developing brain is of great interest for A/Prof Dawson and his team.

Download information flyer (PDF, 66KB) and find out more about this project.

EASY-Health: Enhancing Access to Services for Your Health​ ​

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.

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

Enhancing outcomes after gynaecological cancer: a targeted exercise and behavioural intervention and implementation study  ​

The most potent aid to recovery after reproductive cancer treatment is not a drug. It is exercise. Exercise has been effectively used in breast and other common cancers to reduce women’s risk of developing treatment side effects (such as neuropathy) and treatment-related chronic conditions (such as diabetes). However there is little education and support to help women treated for reproductive cancers to safely and sustainably integrate exercise into their daily routine following treatment. This disparity has created an unmet need. Approximately 20 000 Australian women treated for reproductive cancer6 have developed, or are at risk of developing, detrimental treatment outcomes. The focus of this study is to address this disparity. 

Grab this opportunity now! Find out more from the information flyer (PDF, 71KB).

MedCan – post trial (PT)​

All participants in our medicinal cannabis research trials are given the opportunity of utilising approved medicinal cannabis products post trial. All Mater investigators have the authority to prescribe a range of unapproved therapeutic products in accordance with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Authorised Prescriber Scheme. At the end of each trial, investigators discuss with the participants their wish to continue on a self-funded medicinal cannabis product based on the perceived benefit (or lack of) keeping in mind that many patients will have received placebo oil and not cannabis oil whilst on trial. An analysis of the products prescribed, dose, duration, adverse effects and benefits over time will be undertaken as a means of gaining further information as to the off-label post trial use of medicinal cannabis.

Want to join the team? Download your copy of the information flyer (PDF, 67KB).

B-catenin TG project - Ulcerative colitis

Targeting mitochondrial dysfunction in diabetic kidney disease

Diabetic individuals with kidney disease make up the greatest proportion of persons requiring a kidney transplant or dialysis in Australia. Susceptibility to kidney disease in diabetes is not well understood, but previous studies have highlighted dysfunction of the power stations of the cells (mitochondria) as a potential mediator. In this project, we aim to better understand how dysfunction in mitochondria can contribute to kidney disease in diabetes. Further, we will also examine if novel medicine (KH176) that can improve the function of mitochondria in other human conditions, can alleviate kidney disease in a mouse model of diabetes. The intent of this research is to test the novel therapy KH176 and understand its protective mechanisms allowing for translation of this research to patients with diabetes and kidney disease. In addition to kidney function this project will also closely examine how KH176 affects blood glucose control.

Sound like you? Find out more by downloading the information flyer (PDF, 6KB).

B-catenin TG project - Ulcerative colitis

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.

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

Anti-cancer bioactives

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.

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

Integrative genomics of the gut-brain axis in Parkinson’s disease

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.

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