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PhD Scholarship
  • World leading translational research institute in Queensland
  • State of the art facilities, world class supervision, training
  • Work at the forefront of genetic epidemiology, applied to the field of dementia

About QIMR Berghofer:

QIMR Berghofer is a world-leading translational medical research institute focused on improving health by developing new diagnostics, better treatments and prevention strategies, specifically in the areas of cancer, infectious diseases, mental health and chronic disorders. Based in Herston, Brisbane and working in close collaboration with clinicians and other research institutes, QIMR Berghofer is home to more than 600 scientists, students and support staff.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute provides world class facilities for histology, flow cytometry, Imaging and animal experiments.


About the Genetic Epidemiology Group:

The PISA study (Prospective Imaging Study of Aging) investigates individuals in middle age to uncover genetic and lifestyle risk factors for dementia. This study is Australia's first younger healthy cohort selected for high risk of dementia. 

The student will work within the Genetic Epidemiology group at QIMR Berghofer, and have opportunities to collaborate with PISA investigators based at UQ and CSIRO. Your supervision team will include Associate Professor Michelle Lupton and Professor Nick Martin.


Project Description:

We are seeking top applicants interested in applying for a full time PhD degree at Queensland's largest Medical Research Institute based in the Herston Hospital campus, Brisbane.

Dementia affects an estimated 353,800 Australians, with up to 80% being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Despite a major research effort, an effective treatment is not available. The pathogenic process of AD begins decades prior to the clinical onset, so it is likely that treatments need to begin early in the disease process to be of benefit.

The aim of this PhD project will be to build on our current work using genetic risk prediction to identify individuals who are at high risk of AD, a subset of which will be in a prodromal disease stage. To investigate both common and rare AD genetic risk factors and test for associations with extensive phenotypic data including neuroimaging and blood based methylation markers. Our group has access to large highly phenotyped cohorts spanning different ages and stages of dementia, including the PISA study. 

The identification of individuals at high risk of Alzheimer's disease will provide: 1) important insights into mechanisms of AD development throughout the life span; 2) the opportunity to investigate prodromal markers, and allow selection of individuals for early treatment strategies.


About you:

You will have academic qualifications in the relevant discipline:

Bachelor's degree with First Class Honours or a Research Master's degree or equivalent or a coursework Master's degree with a research component of at least 25 % of an academic year and an overall grade point average equivalent to ≥5.5 on a 7-point scale.

If English is not your first language, you will also need to demonstrate proficiency in English.  Background in genetic epidemiology, statistics and bioinformatics is required. Experience in working with neuroimaging, DNA methylation or whole genome/exome sequence data also desirable. 



Suitable applicants will be encouraged to apply for a research stipend. Successful stipend funding will be supplemented with an additional annual top-up available per annum. 


To submit an application: use the APPLY button.

All applicants must supply the following documents:  Academic CV, Undergraduate Academic Transcripts, Postgraduate Academic Transcripts; English Proficiency Test (if required) and two referree letters.  

All documents must be combined into one pdf file and uploaded.


For further information:  Contact Associate Professor Michelle Lupton on 


Closing Date:  10 November 2020

Job Ref: JM000022
Applications Close: Tuesday, 10 Nov 2020

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