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24 Jun 2018

Prestigious new scholarships for PhD projects at Garvan

Calling all prospective PhD students! Applications are now open for four PhD projects, spanning our Cancer, Immunology and Bone Biology divisions, all of which are eligible for award of a lucrative UNSW Scientia PhD scholarship.

The prestigious new scholarship program for PhD students, which UNSW launched last year, targets strategic research areas and selects project supervisors from a cohort of the highest performing researchers at UNSW and affiliated institutes.

The scholarship package includes a tax-fee living allowance of $40,000 per annum for 4 years, and a support package of up to $10,000 per annum to provide financial support for career development activities. Successful candidates can expect to be immersed in a culture of research excellence, leadership and community engagement at Garvan, and be provided with career mentoring and access to an array of professional development opportunities.

Tracy Anderson, Student Programs Coordinator, encourages national and international students to apply for these highly competitive scholarships to undertake these research projects. She says:

“With this scholarship scheme, we aim to attract PhD students of exceptional quality, with a strong commitment to making a difference in the world. We are looking for applicants who provide not only an excellent academic background, but real-world experience, a particular skill set, or a unique talent - and an eye towards the future. ”

“This scholarship is a new opportunity to cultivate not only highly skilled, expert scientists, but more well-rounded, career-ready individuals.” says Dr Marie Dziadek (Chief Scientific Officer, Garvan), “In this rapidly evolving economy, there is a growing need for scientific expertise both inside and outside of academia, and we aim to prepare our students so that when they leave, they are ready to enter the broader job market.”

Garvan is delighted that UNSW has recognised the dedication and vision of our staff with the selection of these four projects.

Read more about Garvan’s four UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship-eligible projects below.

Interested in applying? Pick your project and contact the supervisor at the email provided to set up a meeting today. 

Bone biology: Characterisation of the bone/marrow niche: Birthplace of immune, blood and skeletal cells

Associate Professor Paul Baldock:

The bone marrow is the birthplace of the body’s immune, blood and skeletal cells. These cells originate from specific niches, or clusters of support cells which support the production and maturation of this diverse range of cells. Understanding of the control of these processes has been hampered by the complexity of the marrow environment and its wide range of cellular constituents. The Garvan has recently entered a collaboration with the Weizmann Institute to form the Garvan/ Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics. The exciting initiative enables us to explore the bone/marrow niche in a cell by cell fashion for the first time. Using single cell sequencing and multi photon imaging technology, this project will, for the first time, define the cellular constituents of the bone/marrow niche, their transcriptional repertoire, and their three dimensional architecture to define the critical interactions that enable such complex ad critical cellular output.

Cancer: Stromal and Immune effects of endocrine therapy on breast cancer

Professors Elgene Lim: and Alex Swarbrick

Seventy percent of breast cancers are classified as estrogen-receptor (ER) positive and will receive some form of long-term endocrine therapy. However, resistance to endocrine therapy occurs in a third of breast cancer patients. We lead an Australian clinical trial of 200 women who receive 2 weeks of endocrine therapy prior to surgery, providing a unique resource to study the effects of endocrine therapy on paired ER positive tumours. The aim of this PhD project is to assess the therapeutic effect of endocrine therapies on the stroma and its immune milieu using single cell genomics. 

Immunology: Balancing the immune system to fight infection and prevent autoimmunity

Dr Elissa Deenick:

The immune system must be tightly controlled as immune dysregulation can, on one hand, lead to a failure to control or clear infection or, on the other hand, to immune mediated damage such as inflammation and autoimmunity (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis). Our ability to manipulate the immune response to increase protection against infections and minimise immune damage is hampered by a lack of understanding of the immune control processes. This project will study lymphocytes of patients with immune dysregulation leading to infection and or/autoimmunity and novel mouse models to identify key signals and transcriptional networks that control appropriate immune activation.

Cancer: Genetic causes of osteosarcoma as clues to novel drug targets

Professor David Thomas:

Given the dismal survival of patients with metastatic or recurrent osteosarcoma, unchanged over decades, new treatment options are urgently needed. In collaboration with investigators at NIH/Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, USA, we have taken part in the worlds largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) conducted for osteosarcoma risk and survival. Using this unique data set we will functionally investigate the top ranked genes and signalling networks identified in the GWAS. This project takes a bold and innovative approach to link human genetic studies to a mouse-modelling programme to identify novel driver genes and potentially fast-track therapeutic opportunities in osteosarcoma.