PhD Scholarship, Iverson Health Innovation Institute, Microbiology

Hawthorn, Australia
11 Apr 2019
End of advertisement period
30 Aug 2019
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time
  • Iverson Health Innovation Institute
  • Annual stipend $27,596 (indexed) (2019 rate) for three years (with possible 6 month extension)
  • Tuition fees for up to four years

About the PhD:

We currently have a PhD scholarship opportunity with Iverson Health Innovation Institute at Swinburne University of Technology to support research into the vaginal microbiome. With the recent advances of analytical technology, it has become increasingly evident that microbes (bacteria, viruses and fungi collectively termed as ‘microbiome’) that live on or within our body are important in maintaining human health. These microbes contribute to metabolic functions, protect us against pathogens and can influence other physiologic functions. Unlike gut microbiome that has gained vast interests among researchers and the public alike, the vaginal microbiome (VM) is still not well understood.

We are particularly interested in understanding what constitutes the ‘optimal’ microbiome in the Australian population, which is a world first and has the potential to contribute greatly to an emerging field of research. An ‘optimal’ vaginal microbiome is important in maintaining vaginal health and contributing to the host’s defence against disease. Vaginal flora dominated by Lactobacillus bacteria is associated with vaginal health. Altered communities of micro-organisms in the vagina lead to vaginal dysbiosis commonly known as bacterial vaginosis (BV). Microbiome alteration has been implicated in several diseases and health conditions such as septic postpartum and neonatal infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, miscarriage and pre-term birth, infertility and increased sexually-transmitted infection/HIV and onward transmission.

This PhD project is aiming to elucidate the role of the vaginal microbiome via genomic and metabolomics screening of ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ participants in existing pilot programs. The prospective PhD student will assist in collecting samples and analysing data from a cross sectional study that will examine the composition of the vaginal microbiome of healthy women (n = 100) in relation to obesity, metabolic abnormalities associated with obesity. In addition, in collaboration with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre the project will aim to assess the association between gynaecological cancers, cancer treatment and alteration in the VM.

A PhD stipend of $ 27,596 (AUD) per annum (tax free) will be provided to the successful candidate for up to 3 years.

The position is funded based on the condition for SUPRA-award

About you:

To be successful in the role, you will have:

  • A Bachelor degree Honours and/or a research Master’s degree in a discipline relevant to the research topic
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination certificate with a minimum overall score of 6.5 with no individual band score below 6.0
  • A background in microbiology and bioinformatics

Further information and how to apply

The diverse culture within Swinburne is a source of strength. We are proud to be recognised by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality 2018 and of key initiatives such as our Pride@Swinburne Strategic Action Plan and our Reconciliation Action Plan which are integral components of our 2025 vision to be world class university creating social and economic impact through science, technology and innovation. Swinburne has also received the Victorian “High Commendation” Multicultural Excellence Award (Business Category).

To view the position description or to start an application click on 'apply' at the bottom of this page and submit a resume, cover letter and response to the Key Selection Criteria, as listed in the Position Description.

For further information about the scope of research project, please contact the principal supervisor Dr. Simon Cook ( or Dr. Nina Eikelis (

If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your application, please contact the Recruitment team on

Should you require further support for an interview due to special needs or consideration, please contact our Diversity Consultant, Dr. Walter Robles, on For support or queries related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment, please contact

Applications close at 5 pm, Friday 30th August 2019