Job ID: 96076

PhD scholarship in neuroscience: aging and neurodegeneration

Position: Ph.D. Student

Deadline: 31 October 2022

Employment Start Date: 9 January 2023

Contract Length: 3 years

City: Sydney

Country: Australia

Institution: Western Sydney University

Department: School of Medicine



Investigating the Impact of Chronic Neuroinflammation and Ageing on the Brain-liver-gut Axis and Cognitive Decline in Mice

School of Medicine

Lead Researcher: Doctor Erika Gyengesi

About the project

Supported by major philanthropic donations the School of Medicine is recruiting into a major neuroscience research initiative focussing on neurodegenerative diseases. Our neuroscience program will apply a new, innovative and powerful interdisciplinary approaches with the ultimate goals 1) to establish a validated early diagnostic platform for the detection of dementias before cognitive decline and neuropathological lesions have ensued, 2) to identify new mechanisms involved in disease development, onset and progression, and 3) to discover and validate new therapeutic targets for the treatment of dementias and other neurodegenerative diseases.

In this project, we propose to investigate the mechanisms by which ageing and neuroinflammation impacts neurodegeneration and cognitive decline in AD. Whilst the loss of neurons is central to AD, it is becoming clear that other cell types in the brain (such as astrocytes) contribute to neurodegeneration and neuronal death. We aim to investigate further the connections between microglia and astrocytes with neurons during neurodegenerative diseases their function changes, advancing disease processes. Currently, the precise mechanisms behind the dysfunctional glia-mediated neuronal toxicity remain unclear, however evidence from animal and human cell models suggests that preventing astrocyte dysfunction could protect neurons from degeneration and death.

The project will be based at the school of medicine in Campbelltown campus with the opportunity to work with Dr Erika Gyengesi on novel histological and imaging techniques as well as behavioural studies and molecular biological techniques. Experimental techniques will also be used within the course of this project, including rodent behavioural experiments, neuroanatomical techniques, such as immunohistochemistry combined with stereology (MBF Biosciences, StereoInvestigator and NeuroLucida), genotyping and qPCR methods, western blots, ELISA, HPLC, mass spectrometry.

High quality applicants will be interviewed and matched to projects/laboratories most suitable to their interests, knowledge and skill sets.

What does the scholarship provide?

  • Domestic candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000(AUD) per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs, supported by the Research Training Program (RTP) Fee Offset.
  • International candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000(AUD) per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs. Those with a strong track record will be eligible for a tuition fee waiver and an Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)Single Policy(opens in new window)Opens in a new window
  • Support for training, conference attendance, fieldwork and additional research costs as approved by the School.

Eligibility criteria

We welcome applicants from a range of backgrounds, who are passionate about understanding neurodegenerative disease with the goal of improving patient outcomes. In particular, there are projects suitable for candidates with strong interests in pharmacology, immunology, cancer, behavioural neuroscience, molecular and cellular biology, neurobiology, clinical trials, retinal biology.

The successful applicant should:

  • hold qualifications and experience equal to one of the following (i) an Australian First Class Bachelor (Honours) degree, (ii) coursework Masters with at least 25% research component, (iii) Research Masters degree, or (iv) equivalent international qualifications.
  • demonstrate strong academic performance in subjects relevant to the specific projects including projects with needs in molecular and cellular biology, medicine, immunology, pharmacology, image analysis.
  • have an understanding of the importance of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • be willing to learn new techniques applicable to individual projects.
  • be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level.

International applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency.(opens in new window)Opens in a new window

How to apply

Follow the step-by-step instructions on the how to apply for a project scholarship(opens in new window)Opens in a new window page.

  • Note: You do not need to complete ‘Step 5: Submit an online application for admission’ when applying for this scholarship. You must complete ‘Step 6: Submit an online application for a project scholarship’.

Incomplete applications or applications that do not conform to the above requirements will not be considered.

For questions and advice about the research project, please contact the Lead Researcher;
Doctor Erika Gyengesi:

For questions and advice about the application process, please contact the Graduate Research School:

Applications close 31 October 2022

*Applications close at 11.59pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT).