Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Dr Paul Joyce

Main Campus
City West

Applications Close
26 Sep 2023

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate

Tuition Fees:

All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
$32,500 p.a. (Domestic only)

About this project

Develop a novel therapy to treat lung cancer 

If you are driven to advance your career in pharmaceutical medicine and keen to develop novel treatments for cancer, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a hands-on project-based PhD with real societal impact within the Centre for Pharmaceutical Innovation (CPI), in partnership with the Lung Foundation Australia and the Cancer Council SA. 

Current lung cancer treatments focus on radical chemotherapy interventions, which have proven to be largely ineffective in extending patient life expectancy. The survival rate beyond five years post-diagnosis is less than 20% – a statistic that has hardly improved over the last 30 years.  

This project will aim to develop a breakthrough therapy that targets a set of proteins universally required for lung cancer proliferation and survival. We hypothesise that lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) can be optimally designed to transport a novel lung cancer drug directly to the tumour site for more effective and safer eradication of cancer cells.  

The knowledge generated from this project will be integral for translating new lung cancer therapies to the clinic, which is expected to positively impact the therapeutic outcomes for patients suffering from lung cancer. 

You will join the Centre for Pharmaceutical Innovation, under the supervision of a team that is building on previous collaborative research demonstrating that first-generation and sub-optimal LNPs can facilitate the improved pharmacokinetic performance and biodistribution of the novel drug compound. Our goal is to progress this proprietary therapy to the clinic, but further work is required to optimise the structure, composition and activity of LNPs, and importantly assess their efficacy and safety in a preclinical animal model of lung cancer. 
The project will be based within the Nanostructure and Drug Delivery group, giving you exclusive access to over $247M worth of cutting-edge research infrastructure and the opportunity to leverage the expertise of 350 biomedical experts who share the facilities and are dedicated to overcoming cancer and other human diseases.  

 You will have the unique opportunity to worth together with UniSA Ventures to engage with potential clinical and commercial partners to clinically translate this work to life-changing therapy. 

The world-class research environment and close collaboration with end users throughout the lifetime of the project, will help build a wealth of job-ready skills, expertise and professional connections. 

What you’ll do 

In this project-based research degree, you will be exposed to, and develop, a range of research skills that are fundamental to the fields of nanomedicine, cancer research, and pharmaceutical science. You will perform several experimental tasks which encompass a spectrum of nano-engineering techniques, lab-based experimentation, and animal testing.  

You will also be trained in a range of nanotechnology, pharmaceutical formulation and evaluation (including in vitro and in vivo) techniques that are highly relevant to the advanced manufacturing and health industries.  

You will be involved in progressing each of three phases of this project. This will include, first, developing and characterising LNPs, second, undertaking in vitro evaluation and, third, undertaking in vivo studies. You will have valuable access to and critical training in orthotopic lung cancer mouse models and the opportunity strengthen established and valuable collaborations with other experts in cancer nanomedicine. 

You will be supported in disseminating your research through journal publications and via presentations at scientific, industry and community focused conferences nationally and internationally.   

Where you’ll be based 

We are known for innovation, impact, and exceptional education. The Centre for Pharmaceutical Innovation (CPI) has a clear vision to become an internationally recognised pharmaceutical research enterprise. To deliver better medicines and prepare future pharmaceutical leaders to expertly respond to real-world needs. 

It is our mission to transform medical possibilities into clinical realities. This is achieved through high quality education and efficacious industry collaboration. We partner with Australian and international organisations, research groups, government agencies and professional associations to deliver next-generation pharmaceutical solutions.

Supervisory team

Financial Support 

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses.  Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $32,500 per annum is available to Australian and New Zealand citizens, permanent residents of Australia. 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 this group.  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. Additionally, applicants must meet the projects selection criteria:  
  • An undergraduate degree in Pharmaceutical Science, Pharmacy, Nanotechnology, Biomedical Science or similar.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.

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 on Tuesday, 26 September, 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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