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PhD opportunities exist in our internationally-recognised research programmes

Department of Physiology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Department of Physiology, University of Otago PhD Scholarships available ($25,000 stipend plus tuition fees for three years)

PhD opportunities exist in our internationally-recognised research programmes in the areas of Cardiovascular & Respiratory Physiology, Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience and Membrane & Ion Transport. You will have the opportunity to use state-of-the-art equipment and technologies to undertake integrative, cellular and molecular investigations aimed at understanding animal and human physiology. Some of these techniques include mouse and rat transgenics, patch-clamp electrophysiology, optogenetics, animal models of disease, genetic modulation of the heart, tissue engineering and confocal and multiphoton microscopy. We have the only multiphoton microscope in New Zealand which allows our researchers to view living brain cells for the first time - there are only a handful of these microscopes around the world.

Whilst applications to undertake a PhD are welcome at any time, applications for our Departmental Scholarship round close on Friday 10 March. Candidates can be of any nationality and must have attained an excellent degree in biomedical science or closely related subject.

We have the only multiphoton microscope in New Zealand which allows our researchers to view living brain cells for the first time

We have a huge range of exciting research being undertaken in the Department of Physiology – the following projects are available:

Membrane & Ion Transport

  • Dysregulated ghrelin signalling in pancreatic ß-cells under hyperuricemic conditions - the cause for the onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus? (Dr Andrew Bahn)
  • Hyperuricemia as a driver for the onset of cancer (Dr Andrew Bahn)
  • Cellular mechanisms controlling membrane delivery of ANO1 channels (Dr Steven Condliffe / Associate Professor Grant Butt)
  • The role of the Exocyst complex in trafficking ion channels in polarised epithelia (Dr Kirk Hamilton / Associate Professor Fiona McDonald)
  • Epithelial sodium channel as a target in breast cancer (Associate Professor Fiona McDonald / Dr Martin Fronius)
  • Characterising the role of endothelial ENaC for blood pressure regulation (Associate Professor Fiona McDonald / Dr Martin Fronius)
  • Does retromer control epithelial polarity and ion channel delivery to the cell surface? (Associate Professor Fiona McDonald / Dr Kirk Hamilton)

Cellular & Molecular Neurophysiology

  • Understanding the central nervous system regulation of fertility and the central defects that may contribute to infertility (Dr Rebecca Campbell)
  • Revealing brain stress pathways with optogenetics (Dr Karl Iremonger)
  • Neuroendocrine regulation of body weight and glucose homeostasis (Dr Alexander Tups)

Cardiovascular & Respiratory Physiology

  • Novel approaches for treating cardiovascular disease (Dr Jeff Erickson)
  • Blood pressure regulation by shear stress (Dr Martin Fronius)
  • Central regulation of cardiac sympathetic drive in diabetes (Dr Regis Lamberts / Professor Colin Brown)
  • Nerve innervation and dysfunction of the diabetic heart (Dr Regis Lamberts / Associate Professor Phil Sheard)
  • α-adrenergic control in the diabetic heart (Dr Regis Lamberts / Dr Jeff Erickson)

To see more detailed information about the projects available and the application process (currently there are 15 projects being advertised), refer to the following website at phsl.otago.ac.nz/phd.php and send the documents listed to the supervisor(s) you are interested in working with.

If you have any questions, please contact our Departmental Administrator at [email protected]


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