Arafmi Sunshine Coast, PhD Scholarship

Brisbane, Australia
05 Mar 2018
End of advertisement period
18 Mar 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Arafmi Sunshine Coast Qld PhD Scholarship

at the Queensland Brain Institute

Complete your Neuroscience PhD in a world-class research institute with a scholarship supported by the Sunshine Coast Arafmi and the Ipswich Hospital Foundation.

The successful candidate will pursue a PhD into how dysfunction of dopamine systems specifically within the associative striatum lead to schizophrenia phenotypes. The student will use an animal model “Enhanced Dopamine in Prodromal Schizophrenia” (EDiPs)  developed in our laboratory as a model system to examine dopamine signalling and resultant behavioural phenotypes of relevance to schizophrenia develop in late adolescence.

Queensland Brain Institute

Established in 2003, QBI ( is situated 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

A PhD student position is available to work on a research project under the supervision of Professor Darryl Eyles, Dr James Kesby and Dr Xiaoying Cui at the Queensland Brain Institute.

We have established two strategic international collaborations with molecular groups at Lund University Sweden and Imperial College London to investigate the role played by dopamine in the associative striatum as it transitions to schizophrenia.

We have developed a model of the most widely replicated neurochemical finding in this disease, namely increase synthesis and uptake of dopamine in the associative striatum.  We call this model EDiPs.

We have characterised some of the psychotic like behavioural phenotypes of this model and are now studying the effects increased dopamine has on pre- and post-synaptic structures in our EDiPs model.

This PhD would be to characterise some of the cognitive and negative symptom phenotypes of this model as well as to understand the molecular and structural changes happening both pre- and postsynaptically when dopamine synthesis increases in the associative striatum.

The student would employ an animal model developed in our laboratories to run various neurochemical i.e microdialysis/receptor binding/gene/protein expression experiments as well as behavioural studies.

Apart from following the course of disease transition, EDiPs represents the best animal model to date to trial potential prophylactic agents.

The most exciting aspect of this work is that we are primed to trial any promising repurposed pharmaceuticals directly in at risk mental state patients with our collaborators in London.

To know more about the Eyles lab group, please go to:

The person

Expressions of Interest are invited from outstanding and enthusiastic domestic science students (Australian and Permanent Residents or New Zealand citizens), ideally with a background in neuropharmacology and behavioural neuroscience, or other relevant scientific discipline.  Candidates will have a First Class Honours degree or equivalent, and must fulfil the PhD admission criteria for the University of Queensland, including meeting English language proficiency requirements and demonstrating excellent capacity and potential for research. Demonstration of research ability through publication output in peer reviewed international journals is desirable.

Applicants should have the ability to think critically, rationally and independently and should be strongly motivated to pursue research in the field of neuroscience. Excellent verbal and written English skills are essential. Previous experience in neuropharmacology and behaviour would be helpful.

For information on PhD entry requirements, please visit

Ideally, the successful candidate would commence PhD candidature within the first two weeks of Research Quarter 3 (July) 2018.


One living allowance scholarship is available.  The base full-time research training program (RTP) stipend for the successful student will be at the rate of AUD$27,082 per annum (indexed annually), which is tax-free for three years with the possibility of 2 extensions of up to 6 months each (conditions apply).  For further information on scholarships refer to:

The selected student will receive assistance with submission of a formal PhD application, and to apply for a UQ tuition fee scholarship.


To discuss this role and for further information, please contact Professor Darryl Eyles ( or Dr James Kesby (

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 a detailed academic resume/CV including the names of two referees.

Important:  please do not send your EOI directly to the contact persons 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.

Expression of Interest Closing Date:

Applications close:  18 March 2018 (11:55 PM) E. Australia Standard Time

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