PhD Scholarship in Controlling Hybrid Systems

Brisbane, Australia
11 Sep 2018
End of advertisement period
11 Dec 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

The Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

The University of Queensland's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) is a dynamic multi-disciplinary research institute dedicated to developing technology to alleviate societal problems in the areas of health, energy, manufacturing and environmental sustainability. AIBN brings together the skills of more than 450 world-class researchers complimented by an extensive suite of integrated facilities, working at the intersection of biology, chemistry, engineering and computer modelling.

With a reputation for delivering translational science, AIBN conducts research at the forefront of emerging technologies, and has developed strong collaborations with leading members of industry, academia and government. AIBN goes beyond basic research to develop the growth of innovative industries for the benefit of the Queensland and Australian economies. Information about the Institute can be accessed on the Institute’s web site at

Our people are our greatest asset. We offer collaborative, inclusive work and study places, which are enriched by the significant diversity of our staff, students and community. We genuinely believe that creativity and innovation flourishes in an environment where people feel supported, valued and empowered. Mutual respect, inclusivity and accountability are at the cornerstone of UQ’s culture.

AIBN is committed to supporting the career growth of women researchers and have a number of initiatives to support women in developing and achieving a fulfilling research career at the institute. For more information, please visit our AIBN Women in Science web site at

The Project

As a part of Professor Alan Rowan’s ARC Laureate fellowship, the main objective of this project will be to understand how the material properties of biopolymers (collagen, fibrin, etc.) are modified by the presence of synthetic hydrogels with the aim of providing strain-stiffening, tuneable, hybrid biomaterials for controlled cell growth.

For this project, the candidate will examine the properties of these interpenetrating networks as a function of synthetic/biopolymer binding density and investigate the changes in stiffness and strain-stiffening as a function of crosslinking density, interpenetration and altered pore size. The project will also study how these hybrid extracellular matrix materials interact with the cell cytoskeleton, and study these interactions from a mechanistic perspective employing high resolution spectroscopy.

The interdisciplinary nature of the project, and diverse background of researchers within the Rowan group, will provide the candidate with access to cutting edge equipment and training in new research areas such as high-resolution microscopy, tissue culture, cellular mechanics and bioengineering.  The outcomes of this project will be applied in tissue engineering and wound healing research.

The Role

Undertaking your Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree at AIBN will provide you with the foundations for a career in multidisciplinary research. The successful applicant will receive a systematic training in materials chemistry and materials-cell interaction studies as well as gain experience in a variety of laboratory and characterization techniques.

You will do your research in a world-renowned group, being part of a project, which has recently yielded several Nature-family journals publications. You will have the opportunity to translate your discoveries into new real-world applications in biomedical research and present your findings at national and international symposia.

The Person

Applications are invited from outstanding and enthusiastic, international and domestic graduates of high scholarly calibre as evidenced by a high Grade Point Average (GPA) and will have a First Class Honours degree, Masters degree or equivalent. Past research publication output is desirable. You should have a background in polymer/materials chemistry or bioengineering. Previous experience with live cells and tissue culture will be a plus.

Applicants must meet the requirements for admission into the UQ Graduate School HDR program ( Additionally, international applicants must meet the University of Queensland's English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirements, detailed at


The base stipend will be at the rate of AUD $27,082 per annum (2018 rate) tax-free for three years with the possibility of a twelve month extension in approved circumstances.


To apply for this scholarship, please use the Apply button below. All applicants must supply the following documents:

  • Cover Letter that addresses how you meet the requirements for participation in the project
  • Detailed academic CV with a focus on past research and laboratory skills and details of two referees
  • Complete tertiary academic records (with grades/GPA scores, and official grading scale details)
  • Short project proposal based on the above project outline.


To discuss this role please contact Prof Alan Rowan and/or Dr. Jan Lauko

Important: please do not send your application directly to the email listed in the enquiries section of the advertisement. Only complete applications received via UQ Jobs online system will be considered.

Application closing date

Tuesday, 11 December 2018 at 11:55 pm E. Australia Standard Time