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Cellular genomics of Parkinson’s disease

   Mater Research

  Assoc Prof Jacob Gratten  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Type of project

PhD Research Project

Funded PhD project (students worldwide)

Applications accepted all year round


Associate Professor Jake Gratten


Brisbane, Australia, Parkinson’s disease, genetics, statistics, single cell multi-omics, bioinformatics

About the project

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex neurodegenerative condition affecting 1% of people aged ≥60-years. There is no cure, and the number of affected individuals is rising steeply as populations age. Understanding the genetic basis of PD is critical to developing new therapeutics to counter the growing disease burden. Large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of PD have identified nearly 100 risk loci, but interpretation of these findings remains challenging; we do not yet know the identity of most PD risk genes, nor the specific cell types in which they act, nor when they act during the course of disease, which hampers efforts to identify targets for interventions.

To address these challenges, this Australian NHMRC-funded project will integrate summary data from large-scale PD GWAS with single nucleus ATAC-seq and RNA-seq in PD-related brain regions to identify specific cell types and genes involved in the onset and progression of Lewy body pathology.

The successful applicant will join the Cognitive Health Genomics group led by A/Prof Jake Gratten at Mater Research and the University of Queensland, based in the state-of-the-art Translational Research Institute (TRI) in Brisbane Australia. Mater Research provides a world-class research environment, and dedicated onsite support for a cohort of >100 PhD students. Brisbane is a major international hub for statistical genomics, and we maintain close ties with large and active research groups based at the University of Queensland, which is located less than 20 minutes from TRI. Brisbane is a safe and vibrant city that is consistently ranked among the most liveable cities in the world.

For further information see https://graduate-school.uq.edu.au/project/cellular-genomics-parkinsons-disease

Preferred candidate

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate with an interest in neurodegenerative disease and a background in human genetics, genomics and/or biostatistics.

Selection criteria:

· Bachelor’s degree with first class honours, or Masters, in statistics, mathematics, bioinformatics, human genetics, animal breeding, or an equivalent field.

· Prior research experience in human genetics, including a familiarity with high-throughput genomic data and working in a high-performance computing environment.

· Skills in the R statistical computing language and/or python or an equivalent computing language.

· High degree of motivation and organisation, and an ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

· Excellent written and oral communications skills in English.


This opportunity is open to both domestic and international students.

Interested applicants should review the minimum entry requirements for Higher Degree by Research at The University of Queensland (see https://study.uq.edu.au/study-options/programs/doctor-philosophy-7501#entry-requirements), taking note that requirements for domestic and international applicants differ.

Must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2023. Applicants should apply at least 3 months before the research quarter commencement date.


This PhD project is supported by an Earmarked Scholarship aligned with a recently awarded NHMRC IDEAS grant.

The successful scholarship recipient will receive: 

  • a living stipend of $28,854 per annum tax free (2022 rate), indexed annually
  • a tuition fee waiver
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

See https://scholarships.uq.edu.au/scholarship/earmarked-scholarships-support-category-1-project-grants for further information.

In addition to the University of Queensland living stipend scholarship, Mater Research PhD students receive an additional top-up Frank Clair Scholarship of $10,000 over 3 years.

Application process

Please contact A/Prof Jake Gratten () to express your interest, attaching your CV, academic transcript and details of at least two referees.

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