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2024 PhD Project Opportunity – Developing next-generation probiotics against Colorectal Cancer 

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student to join our colorectal cancer research team at the UNSW Microbiome Research Centre (MRC), St George Hospital. It is a great opportunity to join a multidisciplinary team of researchers in a supportive environment to help you achieve your research and industry goals. 

About the Project 

Colorectal Cancer (CRC) is the 3rd most common cancer and 2nd most common cause of cancer death worldwide. Around 1.9 million new CRC cases are diagnosed each year. The implementation of national CRC screening schemes and the improvement of treatment methods have reduced the death rate by 50% in 2016 as compared to that in 1970 in Western countries. However, the 5-year survival rate for CRC is ~64% but falls to 12% for metastatic CRC. Thus, more effective treatments for CRC are required. Furthermore, the existing CRC chemopreventive agents such as aspirin are not safe for everyone and thus are not widely used in the clinic.  Thus, more safe preventive agents are needed.  

An imbalance of microbiome, namely dysbiosis, has been found in patients with colorectal cancers (CRC) and adenoma, the precancerous lesions. Dysbiosis is characterised by the enrichment of harmful bacteria that promote colorectal carcinogenesis. Whether this dysbiosis could be reverted by manipulating the microbiome and thereby preventing and treating CRC remains unknown.  

This PhD project aims to develop the next generation of probiotics which can revert dysbiosis and inhibit colorectal carcinogenesis. This will involve the identification of potential probiotic microbes in our human cohorts with adenoma and CRC and the verification of these microbes in treating or preventing dysbiosis and CRC in in vitro and in vivo models.

About you: 

We are looking for applicants with the following skills: 

  • Basic knowledge of molecular biology and animal models. 
  • Basic knowledge of scientific computation such as R, Python and Linux. 
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.  
  • Time and project management skills.  
  • Ability to write research reports or other publications. 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills. 
  • Organisational skills, time management and ability to work to priorities. 
  • Problem-solving skills. 

All applicants must meet the UNSW PhD admission criteria and hold an appropriate bachelor’s degree in science, or an equivalent qualification from a tertiary institution as determined by the Faculty Higher Degree Committee (HDC).

Benefits of the position:

  • An opportunity to join a multidisciplinary team leading microbiome research across several disciplines of medicine 
  • Be in an environment that encourages growth and development 
  • Learning the Bioinformatics and Sophisticated Statistical Analyses 
  • Possibility of applying for a scholarship and top-ups for suitably qualified candidates 
  • Experience the UNSW culture of equity, diversity and inclusion 

How to apply: 

Please send a cover letter detailing your research experience and interest in
the project, your academic transcript and CV as well as contact details for two referees