PhD Studentship in the Synaptic Basis of Memory Formation and Loss

St Lucia, Brisbane, Australia
16 Nov 2016
End of advertisement period
07 Apr 2017
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Queensland Brain Institute

Established in 2003, QBI ( is housed on the St Lucia campus of UQ. It is home to more than 450 staff and students, including 41 group leaders, working across a range of disciplines, who are focused on discovering the fundamental mechanisms that regulate brain development and function in health and disease. 

Over the past decade QBI has become known as one of the world's leading neuroscience research institutes. It played a key role in contributing to UQ attaining the highest possible score of 5 for neuroscience, in the 2010, 2012 and 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) reviews, one of only two universities in Australia to achieve this

The role

The primary purpose of the position is to investigate how memories are stored in the brain and how they are lost during the progression of Alzheimer's disease. This project will investigate the synaptic modifications underlying memory formation and loss, both at structural and functional level. To visualize these changes, the PhD student will take advantage of in-vivo two-photon imaging microscopy, a revolutionary technique which allows the visualization of cellular and subcellular structures inside the brain of living and behaving animals. By performing in-vivo two-photon imaging in animals learning a given memory task, the PhD student will follow the synaptic modifications underlying memory formation in normal animals and also, in transgenic animal models of Alzheimer's disease.

The candidate will join the newly established lab group of Dr Patricio Opazo in the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at the Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland. To know more about Dr Opazo and the lab group, please go to the following link:

The person

Expressions of Interest are invited from outstanding and enthusiastic international and Australian science graduates ideally with a background in neuroscience, biophysics, biomedical engineering or other relevant scientific discipline. Candidates will have a First Class Honours degree or equivalent and should be eligible for UQ scholarship consideration.  Some expertise in microscopy, molecular biology, animal behaviour and programming (Matlab) is desirable.

Applicants must fulfill the PhD admission criteria for the University of Queensland, including English language requirements, and demonstrate excellent capacity and potential for research. Demonstration of research ability through publication output in peer reviewed international journals is highly desirable.

For further information on the Basis of Admission to a UQ research higher degree, please visit  Successful applicants must accept and commence within 6 months of receiving an award.


Selected prospective students will receive assistance to apply for University scholarships.  The 2017 living allowance stipend rate is AUD$26,682 per annum (2017 rate, indexed annually) tax-free for three years with a possible six month extension in approved circumstances. A top-up scholarship ($5,000 per annum) may be available to the successful candidate.  For further information on scholarships refer to:


To discuss this role and for further information, please contact Dr Patricio Opazo (

To submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for consideration, ensure you use the UQ Jobs online recruitment system by following the Apply button below.  All applicants must supply the following documents: cover letter; complete official tertiary academic transcripts (with grades/GPA scores, and official grading scale details), and award certificates (testamurs); and detailed academic resume/CV.

Important: please do not send your EOI directly to the contact person listed in this section of the advertisement.  EOIs not received via the UQ Jobs online system will not be considered.

For information on completing the application process click here.

Please note the different EOI closing dates below for international and domestic candidates leading up to the UQ Graduate School research higher degree application and scholarship round timelines as advertised on their website:

Expression of Interest Closing Dates

International candidates:  13 January 2017 11:55pm E.Australia Standard Time for consideration in relation to the next available UQ international scholarship round with commencement in Research Quarter 3 (July) 2017.

Domestic candidates:  7 April 2017 11:55pm E.Australia Standard Time for consideration in relation to the next UQ domestic scholarship round with commencement in Research Quarter 3 (July) 2017.