PhD Scholarship in the Design of Peptides as Novel Therapeutics

Brisbane, Australia
11 Oct 2017
End of advertisement period
02 Nov 2017
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

PhD positions are available in the following topics:

  1. Discovery of cholesterol-lowering drugs
  2. Peptide synthesis, NMR structure and drug design
  3. Production of therapeutics in plants

PhD projects are available within Prof David Craik’s laboratory at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (, which will be multi-facetted and may involve the use of techniques in areas such as molecular biology, cell biology, protein expression, biophysics, peptide chemistry, and structural biology.

The Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) is a global leader in multidisciplinary life sciences research, bringing together 500 researchers from across the globe for disease discovery, application and sustainable futures. Formed in 2000 as an initiative of The University of Queensland, State and Federal Governments and private philanthropy, IMB is one of the largest life sciences institutes in the Asia-Pacific region. It has capitalised on one of the greatest periods of discovery in history – the genetic and molecular basis of life and its diversity.

Our research is framed through six research centres focusing on superbug infection, pain, heart disease, inflammation, solar biotechnology and the interplay of genomics and disease. We also undertake research in cancer, brain injury and disease, the environment and agricultural solutions. 

Institute scientists use a range of model systems and facilities to advance their research in chemistry and structural biology, genomics of development and disease, and in cell biology and molecular medicine.

IMB’s combination of life, pharmacological and chemical researchers means that the Institute can take life science discoveries from genome to drug design and application – for health, disease and for the sustainability of our cities, fuels and foods.

IMB is proud of its strong reputation as a generator of new knowledge. With 66 patents and 11 spin-outs to our name, UQ’s IMB has a strong record of economic development, impact and innovation through partnership.

 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. Discovery of cholesterol-lowering drugs. We are interested in drug discovery and design. This project will initially focus on the discovery of novel cholesterol-lowering drugs. For this purpose, we aim to establish a rapid screening technology that will allow for the discovery of novel leads from large molecular libraries. Identified leads will be further characterized to determine their potency using biophysics and cell-based assays. The PhD candidate should have a keen interest in molecular biology, cell biology and biophysics.
  2. Peptide synthesis, NMR structure and drug design. We have a range of projects involving the design, synthesis and the structure determination of cyclic peptides drugs for cancer, pain, infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases. The PhD candidate should have a keen interest in peptide chemistry and structural biology.
  3. Production of therapeutics in plants. This project focuses on expressing pharmaceutically active peptides in plants and in using plants as biofactories for producing drugs. The PhD candidate should have a keen interest in peptides and plant molecular biology.

These projects are multidisciplinary, and will suit PhD candidates interested in molecular biology 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 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 enroll 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, equivalent in value to the Research Training Program (RTP) stipend (AUD $26,682 per annum in 2017, indexed annually, tax-free) for an initial period of three years, with the possibility of up to two six months extensions (conditions apply).

Award of the scholarship will be conditional upon the applicant meeting entry requirements for the PhD program at UQ, under the supervision of members of Prof Craik’s laboratory. Selected applicants will also be supported to apply for UQ scholarship funding.

 Enquiries and Application

For project queries please contact:

Dr Conan Wang (project 1), email: phone +61-7-3346 2014

Professor David Craik (projects 2&3) email: and phone +61-7-3346-2019

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

Application closing date

11:55pm 2nd November 2017 Eastern Australian Standard Time