Lions Medical Research Foundation PhD Scholarship

About this scholarship

A PhD scholarship is available within the Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, Future Industries Institute and UniSA Clinical & Health Sciences commencing February 2020. Both the Future Industries Institute and UniSA Clinical & Health Sciences provide a vibrant and world-class research environment and education experience underpinned with excellent infrastructure and technical support. The student will be based at UniSA’s Mawson Lakes Campus however, the project will involve experiments at UniSA’s South Australian Cancer Research Institute, with close collaboration with clinical collaborators within the Dermatology Department of the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

The PhD project will investigate the role of the actin remodelling protein, Flightless (Flii) in the development and progression of skin cancers. Flii has previously been identified as a potential therapeutic target for squamous cell carcinoma (Kopecki et al., Oncotarget 2015) but it remains to be determined its precise mechanism of action in the development and metastasis of these cancerous lesions. This project will investigate the function of Flii in human precancerous skin lesions (solar or actinic keratosis and melanocytic nevi) as well as developed melanomas and blood samples of patients attending the Dermatology Department of Royal Adelaide Hospital. Subsequently, the project will use animal models of skin cancers and metastasis to determine the effect of altering Flii gene expression on the development of melanomas. The project will investigate avenues to manipulate the expression and function of Flii to determine if this can reduce or prevent development, severity and progression of melanomas. Lastly studies will be undertaken to determine if a diagnostic tool can be developed to enable early detection of skin cancers, leading to better patient management and the development of a personalized approach to skin cancer therapy.

This project is supported by the Lions Medical Research Foundation and is aligned with their efforts to reduce the skin cancer burden in the community by early detection of skin cancers.

Eligibility

The scholarship is open to Australian and NZ Citizens and Permanent Residents of Australia. The applicants should have completed Honours, MSc Degree or equivalent and have an academic background in one or more of the following: Cancer, Regenerative Medicine, Immunology, Dermatology or related disciplines.  

Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements for a research degree program at the University of South Australia.

Value

$28,092 per year (2020 rate) for 3 years

How to apply and closing date

Apply online

Applications will be accepted until the scholarship is filled.

For more information contact Dr Zlatko Kopecki at zlatko.kopecki@unisa.edu.au.