Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Dr Zlatko Kopecki

Main Campus
Mawson Lakes

Applications Close
30 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 the next generation of wound care technology

Are you passionate about a career in regenerative medicine and keen to develop the next generation of wound care? The University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a dynamic project-based PhD within our Future Industries Institute, in partnership with the Channel 7 Childrens Research Foundation.

This research builds on our years of experience in developing dermal skin substitutes and aims to improve the currently available and clinically proven product to address the clinical challenge of infection development during management of deep burn injuries. One of the major morbidities of patients with non-healing wounds is infections that lead to sepsis, which can be life-threatening. 

A biodegradable temporising matrix has revolutionised how we manage deep burn injuries but infection is still a challenge. Nanotechnology allows us to incorporate antimicrobial peptides into the manufacturing process to develop a next-generation antimicrobial dermal matrix to manage deep burn injuries. 

This project aims to address the clinical challenge of burn infection and develop a safe yet effective dermal matrix by using antimicrobial peptides and additive manufacturing in combination with preclinical models of burn wound infection. This development would also provide immunomodulatory effects that promote burn wound regeneration. 

You have the unprecedented opportunity to develop a next-generation dermal matrix and test this novel approach using clinically relevant preclinical models of burn wound infections in both small and large animal models. The outcomes of this industry-funded project can inform clinical management of infected wounds and significantly impact patient care.

You will be based at the Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, within the Future Industries Institute – a recognised world-class hub in biomaterials, engineering, and nanomedicine. We have close links with industry partners and offer a supportive research environment and educational experience underpinned with excellent infrastructure and technical support. 

The Regenerative Medicine Laboratory comprises a large group of staff and students who are developing therapies to improve wound healing and researching wound infections. You will also benefit from our close collaboration with Adelaide Biofilm Facility and Microbiology laboratories, UniSA Centralised Animal Facility (in the Adelaide Biomed Precinct), and Preclinical Laboratories of South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI-PIRL) where you will undertake animal studies. 

By engaging with our partner PolyNovo Pty Ltd in Melbourne, you will develop strong industry collaboration skills. You may be able to undertake industry internship visits to support development of the antimicrobial dermal matrix. 

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will undertake a variety of technical tasks, such as in-vitro bacterial assays, mammalian cell culture, wound assays, antimicrobial peptide synthesis and characterisation, hydrogel and dressing preparation and characterisation, including release studies, and microbiology. 

You may be able to undertake a placement in the manufacturing facility of PolyNovo in Melbourne. 

You will gain in-vivo experience in wound models of acute and biofilm infection in small and large animal models, including analysis and interpretation. This will give you skills in histology, wound analysis, immunohistochemistry, western blotting, ELISA, PCR, and confocal and scanning electron microscopy. 

The project will also provide you with skills and knowledge in biomaterial, pharmaceutical science, and experience with wound and tissue repair research. During the project, you will draft academic papers and potentially present your research at national and international conferences so that you can build your professional communication skills. There will be many opportunities for you to  engage and work with a wide array of researchers, industry partners, and collaborators.

We will support and encourage you to engage with relevant professional societies, including the Australasian Wound and Tissue Repair Society, Wounds Australia and industry partner PolyNovo Pty Ltd (Melbourne). There may be employment opportunities within the Regenerative Medicine Laboratory upon successful completion. 

Where you’ll be based

You will be based in the Future Industries Institute (FII) which was established with a new research culture in mind – one deeply engaged with industry, with the end goal of building economic growth through relevant innovation and industry partnership.

The Institute reflects the University’s strategic ambition to be Australia’s University of Enterprise which engages fully with the professions and industry globally, whose research is informed, leading edge and relevant. FII continues to forge national and international research partnerships in new industries and technologies that address real world issues. Our goal is to support a creative and engaged culture and to help develop a sustainable ecosytem in which innovation, complex, growth-focused industries thrive.

FIIs research supports state and national research priorities and comprises top research teams able to collaborate across disciplines and to work with industry partners to deliver innovative solutions.

With a vibrant research environment, a strong industry orientation, and active international and national links, both academic and industry based, the Institute is among the very best in Australia and attracts and retains leading researchers.

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 application from both domestic and international applicants.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. 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 Mawson Lakes Campus in the north of Adelaide. Note that international students on a student visa will need to study full-time.

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 Monday, 30th 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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