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Neuropeptide signaling in blood vessel assembly and maintenance - PhD scholarship

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, September 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

A major function of the endothelial cells (ECs) that line our entire vessel network is to form a barrier between the blood and surrounding tissues. Altered barrier function contributes to a range of pathologies including haemorrhagic stroke and cancer. Adhesion molecules that connect ECs at junctions are of great importance to control vessel barriers. Intercellular engagement by adhesion

molecules is extremely dynamic in space and time, depending on the requirements of the surrounding tissue. Developing capabilities to manipulate vascular adhesion is a major therapeutic goal.

In this project we aim to understand the role of a neuropeptide family that is known to impact on a range of cardio-vascular diseases like hypertension and heart failure. The degree to which these peptides control vascular adhesion in vivo and precise mechanism of action however remain unknown.

Our preliminary data has yet implicated a novel, specific, role for these peptides in the formation of venous vessel beds but not arteries by live analysis of zebrafish mutant models. This is a uniquely specific phenotype that has not been previously identified.

For this PhD project we will use zebrafish mutants and bioengineered human micro-vessels to understand the molecular mechanisms by which these peptides regulate adhesion in functional vasculature with unprecedented resolution.


To be eligible, you must meet the entry requirements for a higher degree by research:

How to apply

To be considered for this scholarship, please email the following documents to Dr AK Lagendijk at

Cover letter
Academic transcript/s
Contact details of two academic referees

You can also find more information here:

Selection criteria

The ideal applicant will have the following:

First class Honours or equivalent; and
background in cell biology, developmental biology or genetics.

Funding Notes

Living stipend scholarship, Top-up Scholarship, Tuition Scholarship

$27,596 per annum tax-free (2019 rate), indexed annually. Students may also be able to access a top-up of $5000 per annum.

Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances.

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