Students play a vital role in research efforts at QBI. Students enrolled at the Institute come from a diversity of countries, including Canada, China, Germany, Iran, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Bangladesh.

PhD students enrolled at QBI are eligible to receive:

  • $5000 top-up scholarship
  • $3,500 travel allowance
  • Computer with appropriate software and internet access
  • Photocopying and scanning facilities.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A PhD is one of the highest degrees that can be awarded. It is an advanced academic qualification seen as a requirement for the majority of academic and research positions in a wide range of fields and industries. The aim of the PhD is to foster the development of independent research skills. These skills include the capacity to formulate a specific problem, to develop mastery of appropriate conceptual and methodological skills, and to relate the research topic to a broader framework of knowledge in a relevant disciplinary area.

Essential information about the PhD program including entry requirements, duration, and assessment is available at the UQ Graduate School website.

How to apply

To express your interest to undertake a PhD at QBI, please do the following:

  1. Visit the UQ Graduate School website to review information about the PhD program including entry requirements, application procedures, and scholarship information and deadlines. 
  2. If you believe that you meet the entry requirements, please review the Research Groups information to find the lab with the research program of greatest interest to you. Once identified, email the Group Leader directly to discuss the possibility of completing your PhD in their lab. In your email, include the following:
    1. Academic CV with hyperlinks to your published work, and the Impact Factor of the journal if relevant
    2. Academic transcripts for all tertiary level study showing a list of courses, the grades achieved, and the grading system used at the institution of study
    3. Information on how you would meet UQ’s English language proficiency requirement
  3. After you have received confirmation from a Group Leader agreeing to be your proposed Principal Advisor, you and/or the Group Leader should email the QBI student office at qbistudents@qbi.uq.edu.au to confirm that they are able to support your application. The student office will send you detailed information and instructions to help you  apply via the UQ Graduate School website.

When the QBI student office receives your online application, they will request referee reports from your listed referees via the online application system. They will also check your application documents; if they require any further information or documents they will send you a request via the online application system.

Applications are considered complete when we have received both referee reports and any extra documents or information that we requested. If your complete application is supported by the proposed Principal Advisor, and the QBI Research Higher Degree Committee, a School Recommendation Form will be prepared at QBI. A detailed project description will also be completed at this time; the proposed Principal Advisor will liaise with you about your project. 

When the School Recommendation is finalised, your complete application will be forwarded to the UQ Graduate School for formal assessment. The QBI student office will notify you when this has been done and your application will change to ‘in process’ in the online application system.

From this point forward, the UQ Graduate School admissions team will communicate with you via the online application system and your assessment outcome will be sent via this system as well. Applicants must be assessed as ‘eligible for admission and scholarship’ to be considered in the next UQ scholarship round.

Current PhD Position/Scholarships

PhD Studentship in Neurogenomics

 Group Leader Professor Geoffrey Faulkner

The successful candidate will investigate the role of retrotransposons, a class of mobile DNA, in generating genetic variability in neural cells. Retrotransposons mobilise through RNA intermediates which are reverse transcribed and inserted at new genomic locations, resulting in insertional mutagenesis. Alterations in retrotransposon activity have been linked to a range of stress conditions, neurodegeneration and aging.This project aims to understand how retrotransposons activity can change the neuronal genome and impact upon neuronal physiology, potentially contributing to neurodegeneration.The PhD student will make use of reporter mouse lines to visualise retrotransposon activity in specific brain areas, as well as novel sequencing approaches to detect differential retrotransposon integration patterns in neurodegenerative mouse models as well as post-mortem human case-control sample sets.

The candidate will join the newly established lab group of Professor Geoffrey Faulkner at the Queensland Brain Institute, (QBI) University of Queensland.  Professor Faulkner has a joint appointment with QBI and the Mater Research Institute – University of Queensland (MRI-UQ).  PhD candidates will apply through QBI as the enrolling unit and be primarily based at QBI for research project work but may also spend some time at the MRI-UQ. Find out more about the Faulkner lab group.

Expressions of Interest are invited from outstanding and enthusiastic international and Australian science graduates ideally with a background in neuroscience, genetics or other relevant scientific discipline. Candidates will have a First Class Honours degree or equivalent and should be eligible for UQ scholarship consideration.  Some expertise in molecular biology, microscopy and mouse genetics is required. Previous experience with animal work would be helpful.

For further information about this position and scholarships, application criteria, and expression of interest closing dates, please refer to www.jobs.uq.edu.au/caw/en/job/499903/phd-studentship-in-neurogenomics.

PhD Studentship in the synaptic basis of memory formation and loss

 Group Leader Dr Opazo

The primary purpose of the position is to investigate how memories are stored in the brain and how they are lost during the progression of Alzheimer's disease. This project will investigate the synaptic modifications underlying memory formation and loss, both at structural and functional level. To visualize these changes, the PhD student will take advantage of in-vivo two-photon imaging microscopy, a revolutionary technique which allows the visualization of cellular and subcellular structures inside the brain of living and behaving animals. By performing in-vivo two-photon imaging in animals learning a given memory task, the PhD student will follow the synaptic modifications underlying memory formation in normal animals and also, in transgenic animal models of Alzheimer's disease.

The candidate will join the newly established lab group of Dr Patricio Opazo in the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at the Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland. Find out more about Dr Opazo.

Expressions of Interest are invited from outstanding and enthusiastic international and Australian science graduates ideally with a background in neuroscience, biophysics, biomedical engineering or other relevant scientific discipline. Candidates will have a First Class Honours degree or equivalent and should be eligible for UQ scholarship consideration.  Some expertise in microscopy, molecular biology, animal behaviour and programming (Matlab) is desirable.

For further information on this position, application criteria, and expression of interest closing dates, please refer to www.jobs.uq.edu.au/caw/en/job/499840/phd-studentship-in-the-synaptic-basis-of-memory-formation-and-loss.

PhD Studentship in Computational Modelling of Single Molecule Dynamics

 Group Leaders Professor Geoff Goodhill and Professor Frederic Meunier

Super-resolution imaging techniques now provide unprecedented quantitative information on the spatio-temporal changes in individual protein behaviour in live neurons. Advanced computational tools are required to quantify the dynamics of single molecules from these experiments, and computational models are essential to link single molecule dynamics to neuronal functions such as synaptic transmission. The successful PhD candidate will develop new computational tools and models to infer critical biological insights from the super-resolution imaging experiments. The candidate will join the established groups of Professor Geoffrey Goodhill and Professor Frederic Meunier at the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland. He/she will work with an interdisciplinary team of mathematicians, physicists, engineers and experimental neuroscientists. Find out more about the Goodhill lab group and Meunier lab group.

Expressions of Interest are invited from outstanding and enthusiastic science graduates ideally with a background in mathematics, physics or engineering. Candidates will have a First Class Honours degree or equivalent and should be eligible for an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) or equivalent.  Some expertise in computer programing is required. Previous experience in modelling biological systems would be helpful.

For further information on this position, application criteria, and expression of interest closing dates, please refer to www.jobs.uq.edu.au/caw/en/job/499325/phd-studentship-in-computational-modelling-of-single-molecule-dynamics.

PhD in motor neuron disease (MND)

The Sah laboratory at QBI uses electrophysiology and molecular techniques, in conjunction with behavioural studies, to understand the neural circuitry that underpins learning and memory formation. Using animal models, the laboratory focusses on the part of the brain called the amygdala, and a Pavlovian learning paradigm called fear conditioning. The group uses viruses to deliver optogenetic constructs to neurons in defined regions, and then records the electrical activity in acute brain slices to study the neural circuits and the properties of these connections. In collaboration with Professor Joe Lynch at QBI, the group is exploring the molecular identity of receptors at inhibitory connections in the amygdala.

The animal studies are complemented by electrophysiological recordings in humans. For these studies, Professor Sah collaborates with Professor Peter Silburn and Dr Terry Coyne who together are part of QBI's Asia–Pacific Centre for Neuromodulation (APCN), to study neural activity in the human brain in patients undergoing neurosurgery for deep brain stimulation. These recordings are revealing the activity in the human brain in a range of movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, essential tremor and Tourette syndrome. From 2016, the group will be involved in a clinical trial for the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder.

We are looking for a person to undertake a PhD in motor neuron disease (MND) research. MND is a group of fatal adult-onset neurodegenerative diseases characterized by a progressive and selective loss of motor neurons in the cortex, brainstem, and spinal cord. MND initially presents itself with muscle weakness and slurring of speech but progresses to general paralysis of motor function and most patients die from respiratory failure within 3 years of diagnosis. Currently there is no cure for MND.

The successful candidate will be testing interventions for MND that have the potential to be developed into treatment for MND. The PhD student will be using genetic techniques to prevent spinal motor neuron death in a mouse line that develops motor neuron disease.

The successful candidate will be testing interventions for motor neuron disease (MND) that have the potential to be developed into treatment for MND as a full-time PhD student. The PhD student will be using viral vectors to insert novel receptors into spinal cord motor neurons to prevent neuron death in a mouse line that develops motor neuron disease.

To determine the success of our MND interventions, the PhD student will perform a selection of behavioural tasks to determine motor strength in treated and untreated MND mice. On a cellular level the student will use electrophysiological, immunohistochemical and microscopic techniques to determine spinal motor neuron changes and survival in treated and untreated MND mice.

Expressions of Interest are invited from outstanding Australian science graduates ideally with a background in biomedical sciences, neuroscience, medical/clinical science or other relevant scientific disciplines. Candidates must meet the minimum requirements for entry into the PhD program, and should be eligible for UQ scholarship consideration. Previous experience in MND research, animal work, patch-clamp electrophysiology, biochemical skills are desirable but not essential. Candidates will have strong communication skills, be an excellent team player and be highly committed to developing their skills as a researcher. Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents.

Commencement of the PhD program is fixed to a specific period within the Research Quarter. Successful applicants should be available to commence within 4 months of the closing date, ie. Research Quarter 3 (July) 2017.

The selected prospective domestic student will receive assistance to apply for University living allowance and tuition fee scholarships. The current base stipend rate is AUD $26,682 per annum (2017 rate, indexed annually) tax-free for three years plus two possible extensions of up to 6 months each in approved circumstances (conditions apply). A top-up scholarship ($5,000 per annum) may be available to the successful candidate.  For further information on scholarships refer to: http://www.uq.edu.au/grad-school/scholarships-and-fees.

To discuss this role please contact Dr Margreet Ridder at m.ridder@uq.edu.au

For further information about the position, and how to submit an Expression of Interest, please refer to the UQ Jobs website.

Expression of Interest Closing Date:  7 April 2017