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Kick-start your medical research career at Garvan.

Garvan is collaborating with UNSW Sydney to provide support to more than 100 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Research, and Honours students who are conducting research for their respective degrees.

A team of Garvan researchers, highly skilled in their fields, act as supervisors and guide the students. These researchers also hold a conjoint appointment with UNSW Sydney.

Research at the Garvan Institute, including our student projects, aims to comprehend the impact of genes, molecular and cellular processes on health and disease. This understanding serves as the foundation for developing preventive measures, treatments, and cures in the future.

Our research students have access to Garvan’s state-of-the-art sequencing technology and facilities to pursue their research questions. Additionally, they have access to the abundant resources provided by our partner institution UNSW Sydney

Our goal is to attract student candidates who exhibit initiative and original thinking, and who aspire to a student experience characterized by superior research and teamwork.

The Garvan Institute is an affiliate of UNSW.  Students at Garvan are enrolled through UNSW Sydney and are approved to conduct research at the Institute, under the guidance of a panel of supervisors who have been approved by both UNSW and Garvan.

As a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidate, you’ll complete a substantial program of independent and original research in your chosen field of study. The duration of the degree is 3–4 years (full time).

As a Master by Research candidate, you will complete a shorter 1.5 - 2 years of full time study focused on the completion of independent and original research.

Why choose Garvan?

  • Garvan welcomes students as valuable members of its research community, with a vital role to play in the intellectual growth of the Institute.
  • Garvan is committed to fostering independent thought, critical analysis and the acquisition of expert knowledge among students.
  • Student research projects draw upon Garvan’s state-of-the-art research facilities, which incorporate a range of cutting-edge equipment and expertise.
  • Each student is assigned a research expert who also serves as a knowledgeable supervisor specialising in higher degree research.
  • Students actively engage in daily research training by immersing themselves in their supervisor's research lab environment.
  • Research projects are collaborative and students are encouraged to draw upon staff expertise across Garvan.
  • Students are encouraged to gain insight in to how their research fits within an international context and students are supported to attend conferences.
  • The Institute helps prospective candidates apply for Australian Government, UNSW, and other relevant scholarships schemes prior to starting their studies and once enrolled, provides an Institute-funded top-up allowance to eligible scholarship holders.

Explore your options

Finding a supervisor with compatible research interests is critical to your success as a higher-degree research candidate.

You can explore the research profiles on our website and reach out to the staff members whose research interests align with yours. By contacting them, you can inquire about the possibility of them taking on a higher degree candidate.

In addition, browse the research projects advertised below and submit an expression of interest.

PhD projects available at Garvan

Garvan will contact the applicants who have been shortlisted and provide assistance in submitting their application for admission to UNSW through the UNSW online platform.

Closing date for expression of interest

  • (for those who wish to start their studies in Term 1 2024).

Before expressing an interest in our available projects, you should first ensure you meet UNSW eligibility criteria for admission to a PhD. Application requirements can be found at Research Higher Degree Programs, including  the UNSW English Language Requirements

Honours students at Garvan receive first class research training and access to our state-of-the-art facilities.

Garvan researchers supervise Honours students through either the School of Biomedical Sciences (SBMS) or the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Science (BABS) at UNSW Sydney.

Students who wish to undertake Honours at Garvan are invited to contact in the first instance a supervisor from the list below to discuss available projects.

Cancer supervisors

Immunology supervisors

Bone biology supervisors

Genomics and epigenetics supervisors

Diabetes and metabolism supervisors

Dean's Award

The Dean's Award formally recognises the high-quality PhD theses produced at UNSW. To receive this award, candidates must produce a thesis that in the opinion of both examiners is in the top 10% of PhD theses examined. 

2022 Garvan recipients


Thesis Title

Ohannes Mazigi

Molecular engineering of antibody and superantigen interactions

Samuel Ross

Canonical and non-canonical DNA methylome dynamics during vertebrate development

Marija Simic

Wnt-Targeted Therapy to Treat Myeloma-Induced Bone Loss and Prevent Disease Relapse

Lisa Worley

Molecular and Cellular Regulation of Human TH9 Cell Differentiation

Clara Young

"Rogue" B cells: An investigation into B cells that break tolerance in autoimmune disease

2021 Garvan recipients


Thesis Title

Oliver Skinner

New insights into the link between protein prenylation and inflammation using models of mevalonate kinase deficiency (MKD)

Anthony Lau

An investigation into the impact of dysregulated PI3Kδ signalling on B cell development and autoimmunity

Andre Martins Reis

The development of reference standards for genomics

Sunny Wu

Elucidating the functional diversity of stromal cells in breast tumours using single-cell and spatial transcriptomics

Ghamdan Al-Eryani

Development and implementation of multimodal single cell technologies for human immune profiling

2019-2020 Garvan recipients


Thesis Title

Deborah Burnett

Investigation into immune tolerance

Keeming Chia

Targeting the androgen receptor in breast cancer

Qian Du

DNA replication timing: impact on the cancer genome and epigenome

Katherine Giles

BRG1 ATP-Dependent Chromatin Remodelling in Prostate Cancer: Epigenetic Consequences

Simon Hardwick

Designing synthetic spike-in controls for next-generation sequencing and beyond

Yolanda Colino Sanguino

Dissecting the role of histone variant H2A.Z acetylation in transcription regulation

Stuart Furler Travel Awards

Stuart Furler was a long serving and highly respected scientist in Garvan’s Diabetes and Metabolism Division who died of pancreatic cancer in 2007. His family established the Travel Award in his memory, as a way of nurturing early career scientists.

Third year PhD students are eligible to apply for the Stuart Furler Travel Award, with winners receiving $5,000 to attend a major international conference relevant to their field of research, as well as to visit labs of potential collaborators.


2022 Allegra Angeloni and Abigail Grootveld

2021 Alex Corr and Cecilia Chambers

2020 Marija Simic and Michael Papanicolaou

2019 Andrew Law and Oliver Skinner

2018 Etienne Masle-Farquhar and Ghamdan Al Eryani

2017 Deborah Burnett and Simon Hardwick

2016 Claire Vennin and Ira Deveson

2015 Qian Du and Robert Shearer

2014 Jackie Lau and Louise Cottle

Garvan Thesis Prize

The Garvan Thesis prize formally recognizes one PhD graduate for their high quality PhD thesis and their research achievements during candidature.


2022 Oguzhan Begik and Clara Young

2021   Sunny Wu

2020  Jordan Hastings

2019   Deborah Burnett

2018   Imogen Moran

2017   Claire Vennin

2016   Christoph Jandl

2015   Elisabeth Malle

2014   Saul Bert