Scholarships up for grabs

29 Apr 2011

The Queensland Brain Institute is seeking candidates for three PhD scholarships in Associate Professor Fred Meunier’s neuronal trafficking laboratory.

The laboratory uses new fluorescent probes and state-of-the-art live cell microscopy, in combination with biochemistry and mass spectrometry, to understand the molecular mechanisms underpinning neuronal membrane trafficking.

The PhD scholarships on offer will explore three related areas:

  • The role of autophagic trafficking in health and neurodegenerative disease
  • Neuronal communication, in particular the role of phosphoinositides in priming secretory vesicles
  • The role of cholesterol trafficking and homeostasis in neurons and its importance in synaptic activity and vesicular transport in health and Alzheimer’s disease.

According to Associate Professor Fred Meunier, the successful candidates will have the opportunity to make discoveries in a fascinating area of neuroscience.

“Neurons can reach astonishing shapes and dimensions with dendrites and nerve terminals sometimes located metres away,” he explains.

“The establishment and maintenance of such polarity is achieved through the traffic and transport of vesicular compartments.

“These vesicles, which have various origins and defined destinations, underpin fundamental functions such as neuronal communication through the timely release of neurotransmitters at the synapse.

“They can also be destined for retrograde transport, carrying many important survival factors from the synapse back to the cell body.”

PhD candidates will hold a 1st Class Honours or equivalent and should be eligible for an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) or equivalent.

Basic expertise in cell culture, transfection and microscopy is required, while experience in biochemistry techniques including western blotting, would be advantageous.

The University of Queensland, where QBI is based, offers competitive scholarship options.

Prospective students will be provided with assistance to secure either an APA or, for international students, an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS).

To be competitive for an IPRS, at least one publication, preferably as first author, may be required.

For immediate consideration, email your resume and a cover letter addressing the specified requirements in PDF format to