Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Associate Professor Karen Murphy

Main Campus
City East

Applications Close
29 Jan 2023

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic 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. (Domestic Only)

About This Project 

Help reduce dementia risk through diet and lifestyle interventions

If you are seeking to advance your career in nutrition and interested in improving dementia prevention, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a unique project-based PhD within the UniSA Clinical and Health Sciences Unit.

Ageing increases the risk of cognitive decline and risk of dementia, with age-related decline leading to a loss of independence and reduction in quality of life.  Currently there is no long-lasting pharmacological medication to prevent or treat dementia, however reducing the risk of rapid cognitive decline is possible through diet and lifestyle interventions.

The project will analyse how inflammation and gut microbiome may help improve cognition and dementia, through a MedDiet and exercise. This PhD project will determine whether the intervention modulates inflammatory markers and whether gut microbiome composition improve overall health outcomes.

You will join the UniSA Clinical and Health Science Unit and collaborate with world-leading researchers, dietitians and exercise physiologists. You will benefit from working with researchers in the Alliance for Research Exercise Nutrition and Activity (ARENA) Research Centre. Each of these areas provide a vibrant and collaborative work environment that seek to develop skilled, collegiate researchers.

Your work will have a significant impact in the community. The expertise you develop in this area will also give you a competitive edge in an important employment area.  

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will collect data, analyse dietary food records, and undertake data entry. You will receive training in the handling of blood samples and learn how to analyse samples for inflammatory markers. You will have the opportunity to be trained in dietary intervention trials including clinic visits and laboratory work.

There will be opportunities for you to attend and present at internal and external conferences and meetings, which will help you to start building a robust, collaborative research network. Working directly with our end-user advisor will help you to also establish meaningful links with industry.

Upon completion of the project, you will possess skills in running randomised controlled trials, verbal and written communication skills, scientific writing, laboratory and clinic skills, and data analysis, positioning you for a career in nutrition science.

Where you’ll be based

You will be based in the UniSA Clinical and Health Sciences Unit. We address critical and emerging health needs while improving the quality of patient care. We are at the forefront of clinical discovery through our research into causes and cures of disease. Every day, our researchers investigate the best ways to help improve patient outcomes and create positive change in the health industry.  

We present our insights to the people who need it most, through our collaborations and partnerships with local industry and community, government and research institutions worldwide.  Our clinical and health science programs encompass pharmacy, nursing and midwifery, laboratory medicine, biomedical sciences, and nutrition and food sciences.  

UniSA’s world-class facilities provide a seamless transition from study to career, with our specialist clinics providing hands-on experience to students while serving the local community. UniSA Clinical and Health Sciences is a community of ideas and innovation. We produce versatile graduates, generate new knowledge that contributes to a healthier society, and translate our research into successful healthcare strategies.

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 Australian and New Zealand citizens, and permanent residents of Australia, including permanent humanitarian visa holders.  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
International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Eligibility and Selection

This project is open to applications from Australian or New Zealand citizens, and Australian permanent residents or permanent humanitarian visa holders. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. Applicants who are also able to demonstrate the following will be highly regarded:
  • Nutrition knowledge and understanding of dietary analyses

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 East 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 on 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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