Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Dr Anna Brown

Main Campus
City West

Applications Closed

Study Level

Applications Open To
Both Australian and Internantional Candidates

Tuition Fees:
All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. International students who receive a stipend are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
$29.863 p.a.

Develop new responses to acute myeloid leukaemia

If you’re keen to pursue a career in molecular biology and interested in developing life-changing therapies for acute myeloid leukaemia, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a pioneering project-based PhD with real-world impact within our Centre for Cancer Biology.

Collectively, blood cancers are the second most common cancer diagnosis and cause of cancer death in Australia.  It is thought that approximately 15% of these blood cancers originate from a genetic risk, where the individual has inherited a germline predisposing variant.

Through our decades long work in the Australian familial conditions study (AFHCS) we have identified and follow hundreds of families that carry an inherited genetic risk of blood cancer. In AFHCS families, we have identified three specific genes that lead to the development of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

In this project, we are trying to understand what triggers the development of AML in these at-risk individuals. We will study how different environmental factors, bacterial or viral infections, and cell stress interact with the genetic risk influencing blood stem cell behaviours and the bone marrow microenvironment leading to AML development. The aim of this work is to identify new therapeutic targets that could interrupt this process and prevent AML development in people with inherited risk.

You will be based in the Molecular Pathology Research laboratory at the Centre for Cancer Biology. The Centre has a balance of highly experienced and early career researchers and their expanding portfolio of research provides opportunities for career development in a vibrant and highly supportive environment.

The team is supervised by world leaders in genetic predisposition to blood cancers with extensive expertise in genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, molecular and cell biology and haematology/oncology, and the team have active national and international collaborations with other world leaders in this area. This project will incorporate state of the art genomics technologies and bioinformatics strategies and algorithms with in vivo and in vitro functional studies

The Centre of Cancer Biology carries out a world-class program of innovative research, making breakthrough discoveries in the fundamental causes of cancer, and translating these discoveries into new ways to prevent and treat this group of diseases. You will benefit from the Centre’s state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and the ACRF cancer Genomics Facility which provides access to cutting-edge genomics research equipment, computing technology and bioinformatics expertise.

What you'll do

We need new and engaging treatments for phantom limb pain. Working with industry experts in virtual reality (Virtetic), this project aims to create and evaluate a new game-based virtual reality program for people with phantom limb pain. The outcome of this project will have real-life applicability for people with phantom limb pain by reducing both their pain levels and the degree to which pain interferes with their lives. Further, the findings of this project will create opportunities to expand this new virtual reality platform and roll-out to clinics across Australia.

Where you'll be based

You’ll be based at the Centre for Cancer Biology on UniSA’s City West campus. CCB is a medical research institute which carries out a world-class program of innovative research, making breakthrough discoveries in the fundamental causes of cancer, and translating these discoveries into new ways to prevent and treat this group of diseases.

The CCB is an alliance between SA Pathology and the University of South Australia and boasts the largest concentration of cancer research in South Australia, currently hosting 22 full-time research group leaders and their teams.

CCB laboratories carry out research in leukaemia, breast cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, brain cancer and colon cancer, focussing in the specialised areas of gene regulation, molecular signalling, translational oncology and cancer genomics. In addition to these laboratories, our ACRF cancer Genomics Facility is providing access to state-of-the-art genomics research equipment, computing technology and bioinformatics expertise to Adelaide BioMed Precinct and the wider research community.

Translation of new discoveries into clinical practice is strengthened by the co-localisation of the laboratories within a single Institute, as well as its proximity and close collaboration with the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the University of South Australia, the University of Adelaide and SAHMRI.

The CCB also has alliances with leading pharmaceutical companies to rapidly exploit new discoveries. The Institute aims to be a hub of internationally recognized cancer research excellence, achieving tangible outcomes for cancer patients.

The CCB is a member of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI).

Supervisory Team

Dr Anna Brown
Principal Supervisor
Dr Jason Powell
Dr Claire Homan


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