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Understanding resistance and tolerance to chytrid fungal disease in amphibians to improve conservation

Environmental Futures Research Institute

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Dr Laura Grogan Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This PhD project will involve working with captive animals (Australian barred frogs and tadpoles, including the endangered Fleay’s barred frog) to understand host responses to infection and mechanisms of resistance and tolerance to the devastating fungal disease, frog chytridiomycosis. There will be opportunities for fieldwork and modelling as well.

Wildlife are in peril. Chytridiomycosis (caused by aquatic fungal agent Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) is the most devastating disease threat to vertebrate biodiversity ever recorded. It has caused the decline and extinction of hundreds of frog species around the world.

Dr. Laura Grogan from The Frog Research Team in eastern Australia ( has a PhD opportunity available for a highly motivated applicant to study frog chytrid fungal disease (3 year PhD) at Griffith University.

View our PhD flyer here:

The project aims to investigate infection dynamics, immunity and mechanisms by which frogs can either resist or tolerate chytrid fungal infections, to help with population and species recovery. You will have the opportunity to make a direct conservation impact by working with endangered frog species of eastern Australia.

PhD scholars will be supervised by Dr. Laura Grogan and Prof. Hamish McCallum (from Griffith University, Southport, QLD, Australia), and Dr. David Newell (from Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia), among others.

*** FUNDING ***

Dr. Grogan was recently awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (ARC DECRA) grant with an associated PhD scholarship stipend ($27,596 pa) and additional project funding and support being provided by Griffith University.

The project is also part of a larger collaboration involving two additional grants (an ARC Discovery Project and a Saving Our Species program grant.


To be eligible for a Griffith University Postgraduate Research Scholarship you need to have First Class Honours or equivalent (First Class Honours is considered a one-year full-time supervised but independent research project culminating in a written thesis). First-authored papers in peer-reviewed international journals are advantageous. Further details of eligibility requirements can be provided on request.

*** TO APPLY ***

To apply, submit a CV and short letter of interest to Dr. Laura Grogan ([Email Address Removed]) with the subject line “PhD application”. This position will remain open until an eligible and suitably qualified applicant is found.


Our research team is situated on the sunny subtropical east coast of Australia. For more information about the research team, please visit:

You can find a flyer for this PhD opportunity here:

Keywords: disease, wildlife, conservation, ecology, epidemiology, chytridiomycosis, frogs, anurans, anuran, amphibian, amphibians, mark-recapture, multi-state, modelling, disease ecology, wildlife disease, declines, extinction, population declines, chytrid fungus, Australia, Southern Hemisphere, Queensland, Brisbane, Nathan, Northern Rivers, New South Wales, QLD, NSW, Lismore, Southern Cross University, Griffith University, EFRI, Environmental Futures, laboratory, experiment, recovery, resistance, tolerance, epidemic, pandemic, endemic, wild, wild animal, herpetology, frog, rainforest, stream, mesocosm, field, field work, lab, captive, animal, animals

Funding Notes

Although a PhD living allowance scholarship stipend ($27,596 pa) is attached to Dr. Grogan's DECRA project, the PhD applicant must still apply (and be considered eligible) through the Griffith University Postgraduate Research Scholarship system.

The application requires a written project proposal (to be discussed with supervisors well in advance of submitting the application to Griffith University).


Martin, L. B., Addison, B., Bean, A. G. D., Buchanan, K. L., Crino, O. L., Eastwood, J. R., Flies, A. S., Hamede, R., Hill, G. E., Klaassen, M., Koch, R. E., Martens, J. M., Napolitano, C., Narayan, E. J., Peacock, L., Peel, A. J., Peters, A., Raven, N., Risely, A., Roast, M. J., Rollins, L. A., Ruiz-Aravena, M., Selechnik, D., Stokes, H. S., Ujvari, B., Grogan, L. F. (accepted 14 Dec, 2018) Extreme competence: keystone hosts of infections. Trends in Ecology and Evolution (IF 15.938).

Grogan, L. F., Robert, J., Berger, L., Skerratt, L. F., Scheele, B. C., Castley, J. G., Newell, D. A., McCallum, H. I. (2018) Review of the amphibian immune response to chytridiomycosis, and future directions. Frontiers in Immunology, 9:2536, (link) (IF 5.511).

Grogan, L. F., Skerratt, L. F., Berger, L., Cashins, S. D., Trengove, R. D., Gummer, J. P. A. (2018) Chytridiomycosis causes catastrophic organism-wide metabolic dysregulation including profound failure of cellular energy pathways. Scientific Reports, 8:8188, doi:10.1038/s41598-018-26427-z (link) (IF 4.122).

Grogan, L. F., Cashins, S. D., Skerratt, L. F., Berger, L., McFadden, M. S., Harlow, P., Hunter, D. A., Scheele, B. C., Mulvenna, J. (2018) Evolution of resistance to chytridiomycosis is associated with a robust early immune response. Molecular Ecology, doi:10.1111/MEC.14493 (link) (IF 6.131).

​​Grogan, L. F., Mulvenna, J., Gummer, J. P. A., Scheele, B. C., Berger, L., Cashins, S. D., McFadden, M. S., Harlow, P., Hunter, D. A., Trengove, R. D., Skerratt, L. F. (2018) Survival, gene and metabolite responses of Litoria verreauxii alpina frogs to fungal disease chytridiomycosis. Scientific Data, doi:10.1038/sdata.2018.33 (link) (IF 5.305).

Grogan, L. F., Peel, A. J., Kerlin, D., Ellis, W., Jones, D., Hero, J.-M., McCallum, H. (2018) Is disease a major causal factor in declines? An evidence framework and case study on koala chlamydiosis. Biological Conservation 221:334-344 (link) (IF 4.660).

Martel, A., Pasmans, F., Fisher, M.C., Grogan, L.F., Skerratt, L.F., Berger, L. (2018) Chytridiomycosis, in Seyedmousavi, de Hoog, Guillot, and Verweij (editors) Emerging and Epizootic Fungal Infections in Animals. Springer publishing, Switzerland (link) (BOOK CHAPTER).

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