PhD Scholarship in kidney research

Brisbane, Australia
04 Oct 2017
End of advertisement period
31 Oct 2017
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Dr Rosamond Siemon PhD Scholarship in Renal Research

This PhD scholarship is funded by Dr. Rosamond Siemon endowment. It was established  to support a research higher degree candidate undertaking multidisciplinary, collaborative research into renal disease, repair and regeneration at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB).

The position is available to undertake renal research in on of the laboratories at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience ( The available projects will include  genetic diseases that link cardiovascular disease and renal diseases; kidney disease (Lupus) and inflammation; and Mechanotransduction: a novel pathway for kidney homeostasis.

The University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience is a leading global research institute. IMB was established in 2000 as UQ's first research institute and is the cornerstone of one of the largest bioscience research precincts in Australia. The Institute's 500 scientists, support staff and postgraduate students from more than 40 countries are working to improve quality of life for all. IMB has three major divisions and hosts six research centres. IMB's multidisciplinary research programs focus on advancing medical genomics, drug discovery and biotechnology. By investigating the basis of growth and development at the genetic, molecular, cellular and organ level, our researchers aim to better understand the development processes and pathways involved in human and animal health and disease. They also work to translate these findings into diagnostics, technologies and therapeutics to more effectively prevent, detect and treat disease.

IMB is equipped with state-of-the-art research infrastructure including mouse and zebrafish facilities, advanced imaging and genomics platforms, high-throughput sequencing, advanced bioinformatics and proteomics – all of which support the Institute's leading life sciences research. Details of the research interests of the Institute may be accessed on the Institute's website at: 

The role

We are seeking dynamic, intelligent, highly motivated PhD students to work on projects that will be further developed with input from the successful applicants, but will focus on the following areas:

1) Lupus, kidney disease and inflammation

IMB Group Leader: Professor Jennifer Stow

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus) is one of the most common causes of chronic kidney disease requiring kidney transplantation. Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which powerful inflammatory responses generated by our immune system, inadvertently attack our own body. This causes ongoing tissue damage to kidneys, skin and other organs with painful and debilitating consequences. Improved ways to diagnose and treat lupus are urgently needed. Our research is focused on the inflammatory pathways in immune cells that trigger and perpetuate lupus. Specifically, we are investigating Toll-like receptor signalling in macrophages and we have recently identified several new molecules that are possible drug targets for lupus. This project will investigate cell signalling and trafficking pathways using gene knockouts and mutations, biochemistry, cell and tissue imaging and models of kidney disease to advance these molecules through drug discovery regimes. Multi-disciplinary collaborations for this project are available through IMB’s Centre for Inflammation and Disease Research. Our aim is to control and treat inflammatory processes in lupus and to save kidneys.

2) Mechanotransduction: a novel pathway for kidney homeostasis

IMB Group Leader: Professor Alpha Yap

This project will analyse how mechanical forces are sensed by kidney epithelial cells to detect potential disturbances to kidney integrity. This multi-disciplinary project combines 3-dimensional cell culture models with advanced imaging of cell signalling, biophysical assays, mathematical modelling and assays for tissue injury.

3) Genetic diseases  - linking cardiovascular and renal diseases

IMB Group Leader: Dr Nathan Palpant

It has been recently discovered that there are genetic diseases that link cardiovascular diseases and renal diseases. This project will include work on generating genome edited disease stem cell lines that carry these mutations and develop external collaboration to study the pathology using stem cell disease modelling of cardiovascular and kidney stem cell differentiation and organoid systems.

The project is multidisciplinary, and will suit PhD candidates interested in molecular biology and developing peptides as therapeutics, and being exposed to cutting edge biochemical and biophysical techniques in one of Australia’s premier structural biology facilities. 

The Candidates

Both Australian and international applicants are welcome to apply. Candidates should have a First Class Honours Degree or Masters Degree (or equivalent) in biology, biophysics, chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, genomics or a related discipline. Strong academic performance, good oral and written communication skills, and published output will be additional assessment criteria.

Applicants must be eligible to enrol in a PhD with the University of Queensland. For a complete list of the University of Queensland's minimum entry requirements please refer to: 

Scholarship and Remuneration

The successful candidates will be offered a stipend scholarship, valued at AUD$30,000 per annum for an initial period of three years with the possibility of a further six months extension, based on need and satisfactory progress. Australian students will be provided with assistance to apply for an RTP. International students will be supported to apply for a UQ-International scholarship, and will be provided assistance to apply for a tuition fee waiver. For further information on scholarships please refer to

Award of the scholarship will be conditional upon the applicant applying for and obtaining an unconditional offer for entry to the PhD program at IMB.

Enquiries and Application

For queries please contact the relevant principal advisors:

Professor Jennifer Stow - email or call +61 7 334 62034

Professor Alpha Yap - email or call +61 7 334 62013

Dr Nathan Palpant - email or call +61 7 334 62054

For application, please upload a cover letter and a full resume.

Application closing date

31st of October 2017