Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Associate Professor Hong Lee

Main Campus
City West

Applications Close
29 Jan 2023

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate or International Candidate

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. available to domestic and international applicants

About this project

Develop new ways of identifying genotype-by-environment interaction

Are you passionate about a career in genomics and keen to develop novel research in this area using big data? The University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a cutting-edge project-based PhD in our Australian Centre for Precision Health.

Environmental adaptation is a key process in human evolution. We know that genes have the ability to react and produce alternative phenotypes in response to the environment, i.e., genotype-by-environment (G×E) interaction. 

In the genomic era, there is an unprecedented opportunity to shed light on the underlying mechanism of genetic response to environmental conditions in complex traits and diseases. However, there are many problems associated with existing methods to identify and estimate G×E interaction. 

This project lays out the development of novel GxE methods. We will apply the proposed methods to a wide range of complex traits and diseases, thereby expanding knowledge in biological, biomedical and clinical sciences. All methods developed in this project will be implemented via user-friendly software.

You will be located within the Australian Centre for Precision Health (in the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute) and UniSA Allied Health and Human Performance. Both, have valuable experience in large-scale biobank data, and you will have the opportunity to collaborate with many analysts and senior researchers who are world leaders and experts in their field.

With access to one of the most powerful computing resources in the nation and various genotypic, phenotypic and other environmental variables that are key resource in developing methods in this project, you will have an exceptional opportunity to develop in-demand skills and expertise. 

This project will give you the unique opportunity to access many genotype and phenotype datasets as a form of big data. For example, you will be able to access multiple data sets from Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities, Framingham Heart Study, Genetic Epidemiology Research on Adult Health and Aging, Database of Genotype and Phenotype (dbGaP), UK10K and UK Biobank. Experience using this data will give you a strategic advantage in the employment market. 

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will learn computer programming skills in R, Fortran or C languages. Upon completion, you will be able to conduct computer simulations based on real genotypic data. 

You will develop high-level scientific writing skills and assist with submitting research proposals and journal publications. 

Conferences and workshops are key to disseminating project results to the wider scientific community. In the second year, you will attend GeneMappers, which is a national conference in human quantitative genetics. In the third year, you will attend the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) Annual Meeting, which is one of the biggest human genetic conferences in the world. You will also present you work at the annual scientific conference held within the Allied Health and Human Performance Unit.

Where you’ll be based

You will be based in the Australian Centre for Precision Health. We bring together a multidisciplinary group of leading experts in genomics, population health and evidence translation to create the next generation of solutions for global health problems.

Our goals are to prevent disease before it strikes, and to create innovative solutions to address issues focused on health and wellbeing. We do this by developing ways to improve risk prediction and risk factor discovery, as well as disease screening and health education.

Supervisory Team

Financial Support

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses. Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $29,863 per annum is available to eligible applicants. Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants will be eligible to receive an increased stipend rate of $46,653 per annum (2023 rates). A fee-offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included. For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information for domestic students or international students.

Eligibility and Selection

This project is open to applications from both domestic and international applicants. Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. 

Additionally, applicants must meet the projects selection criteria: 
  • Experience in computer programming or software, with the ability to communicate with databases and handle large data files 
  • A developing record of research achievement as demonstrated by publications, conference papers and other research activities, commensurate with opportunity 
  • High level verbal and written communication skills with the ability to present information effectively and clearly to a wide audience, including writing for publication
  • Demonstrated experience and ability to work collaboratively as part of a diverse and multi-disciplinary research team as well as work independently
Applicants who can also demonstrate the following will be highly regarded:
  • Master degree in a relevant field
  • Skills in programming such as R, STATA, SPSS, Python, Fortran and C for handling statistical data
  • Experience with statistical analysis of quantitative or statistical genetic models for complex traits
All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate.

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time and to be based at our City West campus in the heart of Adelaide.

Essential Dates

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer. Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close Sunday 29 January 2023. 

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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