PhD Scholar in Molecular and Cell Biology

Brisbane, Australia
21 Dec 2017
End of advertisement period
29 Jan 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

A PhD scholarship opportunity to investigate mitotic cell death and chromosome instability has arisen within the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute.

The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute (UQDI) forms part of the Faculty of Medicine. The aim of the Institute is to develop a better understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of disease, and to translate that understanding into practical outcomes for patients. Based at the Translational Research Institute (TRI) at the Princess Alexandra Hospital teaching campus in Brisbane, the Institute has more than 300 researchers and students who work closely with clinicians in the areas of cancer, immunology and genomic medicine. 

UQDI is an extremely well-equipped translational biomedical research institute, with outstanding facilities for research in cancer cell biology including cutting-edge facilities for microscopy and flow cytometry. UQDI is part of The University of Queensland, one of the top Australasian universities, and  is ranked in the top 100 universities worldwide in all major independent rankings. UQDI academics are part of a vibrant and highly successful academic institution that optimises  their research success.  Details of the research interests of academic staff may be accessed on the Institute’s web site at

The Role

The successful scholar will pursue a PhD degree investigating how mitotic cell death and chromosomal instability contributes to cancer development and how these processes may be targeted to improve cancer therapy. This research group is headed by Professor Paul Clarke (Director of UQDI). The laboratory webpage can be found here

The Project

Chemotherapeutic drugs that target the mitotic spindle (microtubule poisons e.g. paclitaxel) are sometimes effective in the treatment of ovarian and other cancers, but there are significant problems with toxicity and the development of resistance. In order to improve the effectiveness of anti-mitotic cancer drugs and develop more effective chemotherapeutic strategies, we need to identify the molecular mechanisms that control cell death in response to mitotic disruption and understand the regulation of these mechanisms in cancer cells. Our laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms that determine whether a cell survives (cell cycle progression) or undergoes cell death (apoptosis) following mitotic arrest by microtubule poisons. We propose that these molecular mechanisms are important for the clinical response of patients to chemotherapy and they will provide novel strategies for targeting proliferating cancer cells.

The Person

We are seeking candidates who satisfy the following selection criteria:

  • First Class Honours, a research masters degree, a coursework masters with a GPA equivalent to 5.65/7 with a relevant research component, or an equivalent degree in molecular/cell biology or biomedical science (or be near completion of same), and a strong motivation to pursue a PhD degree.
  • A broad basic knowledge across molecular and cell biology.
  • Relevant laboratory experience, particularly in sterile tissue culture, western blotting and microscopy is highly desirable.
  • Ability to work independently and within a team.
  • Attention to detail and an ability to think laterally.
  • Demonstrated organisational ability and good record-keeping skills.

Applicants must fulfil the PhD admission criteria for the University of Queensland, including English language requirements.

Demonstrated research capacity (research outputs such as publications or conference presentations) will be highly regarded.


The successful applicant will receive a living allowance stipend rate of AUD$27,082 (2018 rate, indexed annually)/ per annum tax-free, for three years with the possibility of up to 2 x 6 month extensions in approved circumstances. For further information on scholarships refer to .

The successful applicant will also receive assistance to apply for a University of Queensland tuition fee scholarship.


For further information about the research projects or to discuss the role, please contact Professor Paul Clarke ( To submit an application for this role, use the Apply button below. All applicants must supply the following documents: Cover letter, CV/Resume and Academic Records (indicating GPA scores/grades).

For information about entering the UQ PhD program and for the full terms and conditions, please visit the UQ Graduate School website at Please note that at this stage of the process you do not need to complete the online application for admission form. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by the lead researcher and the successful applicant will be provided with information on how to apply for admission to UQ. 

Application closing date:

29 January 2018 11:55pm E. Australia Standard Time

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