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Super resolution imaging of DNA damage and repair - Interdisciplinary Single Molecule Biology PhD

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, November 03, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

A fully funded La Trobe University PhD scholarship is available in the Whelan Single-Molecule Biophysics group, to be undertaken at the Bendigo campus within the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS). The scholarships will be awarded to outstanding candidates keen to undertake highly interdisciplinary research using biophysics to investigate biological pathways related to genomic instability. The PhD project entails a degree of flexibility which will allow the successful candidate to shape their project towards any of the multiple scientific disciplines involved. Specific questions within disease models associated with DNA damage, neurodegeneration and infection and immunity can also be developed.

The core aim of the lab’s research is to develop and apply advanced fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy techniques to examine biology at the single molecule level. These techniques, for example, single-molecule localization microscopy, allow us to visualize cellular landscapes at the nanometer scale, uncovering the molecular mechanisms that drive disease. My lab has a particular interest in DNA double strand breaks, how our cells mitigate this damage, and how misrepair events are the driving force behind cancer, neurodegeneration, aging and evolution. Through collaboration with other labs we also investigate the nanoworlds of viruses, bacteria, and the human immune response.

A funded PhD project is available to be tailored towards any one of a number of disease models and across a range of techniques, depending on the interests and expertise of the candidate. The successful candidate must be keen to develop an interdisciplinary skill-set, and to apply themselves at the interface of physics, chemistry and biology. The expectation is that the PhD candidate will develop their project to focus either on development of the techniques (for example through optics, coding, or engineering skills), or their application to current questions within DNA damage or related research (for example through cell biology or biochemistry).
As a minimum, the successful candidate will be trained in cell culture, transfection, fixation, and fluorescence labelling approaches; a basic understanding of the optics and operation of the single-molecule microscope, including alignment and troubleshooting skills; routine applications of various software and custom code to process and analyse data for single-molecule detection, counting, colocalization, etc.; and scientific communication including paper writing, conference presentations, and community engagement.

Applicants should have a high level of achievement, including a first-class honours degree or equivalent. They must be keen to engage with interdisciplinary science, collaboration, and teamwork.

The research will be based at the Bendigo campus of La Trobe University where the Whelan group houses a world-class bespoke super-resolution microscope alongside single-molecule, cell culture, and biochemical prep labs. There will be opportunities to engage with other staff members at the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, as well as other national and international collaborators. Bendigo itself is a vibrant regional community boasting some of Australia’s best food, art, wildlife and heritage events, along with a significantly lower cost of living compared to Australia’s capital cities. The city of Melbourne is an easy two hour train, bus, or drive south.

• La Trobe PhD Scholarship for three years, with a value of $27,596 per annum (2019 rate).
• fee-relief scholarship (LTU-FFRS) for up to four years for international applicants.
• academic supervision provided by La Trobe University.
• opportunity to build professional networks in the biomedical and microscopy science sectors.
• access to La Trobe’s suite of professional development programs.

Essential Eligibility criteria
• First class honours degree or equivalent in biochemistry, cell biology, physical chemistry, chemical engineering, immunology, genetics or other relevant sciences.
• International applicants: Meet the English language entry requirements at La Trobe University.
• Evidence of collaborative, interdisciplinary work.
• Developed understanding of cell biology, microscopy or related science areas with a focus on either advanced imaging and/or DNA damage pathways.
• Lab based experience in cell biology, microscopy or related science areas.

How to apply
1. Expression of interest: Send your resume, transcripts, and certificates in one PDF file by filling out the form below by 3rd November 2019.
2. Interview: If your expression of interest is successful, you will be invited to an interview with representatives of La Trobe University in November 2019.
3. Successful candidates will be notified in December, 2019 with an expected commencement date in early 2020.

Funding Notes

Candidates that meet the eligibility requirements will be awarded a La Trobe PhD Scholarship for three years, with a value of $27,596 per annum (2019 rate). International applicants will also receive a fee-relief scholarship (LTU-FFRS) for up to four years.

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