Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Associate Professor Pascal Duijf

Main Campus
City West

Applications Close
03 Dec 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

Progress cancer research and development through genomic targeting 

If you are seeking to build a career in the health and medical industry and are wanting to further cancer research and understanding, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a hands-on project-based PhD/Master of Research within the Centre for Cancer Biology. 

Genomic instability is common in cancers. It refers to the acquisition of abnormal chromosome numbers, chromosomal translocations and mutations in the genome. Cancer cells often have defects in the mechanisms that control repair of DNA damage and segregation of duplicated chromosomes during cell division. These defects cause genomic instability and consequently genetic and genomic abnormalities, which in turn may cause cancer, promote further cancer development, including the spread of cancer cells through the body, and resistance to cancer treatment. Thus, genomic instability is a highly malignant feature of cancer cells. 

This project aims to identify opportunities to target genomic instability in cancers as a new way to treat cancer. Many existing cancer treatments have several drawbacks: (1) Cancers may become resistant to the treatment; (2) Not all cancer patients can be treated effectively with existing treatments; (3) Treatments have moderate to severe side effects. 

Targeting of genomic instability represents a very promising therapeutic opportunity, because genomic instability occurs in almost all types of cancers, and it is very common in cancer cells while very rare in normal cells. Therefore, therapeutic targeting of genomic instability is expected to be specific and effective while reducing side effects. 

The project will aim to identify new opportunities to target genomic instability in cancers, using a broad range of wet-laboratory techniques, including 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional cell culture, drug assays, cancer patient samples, CRISPR genome editing and next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques. 

You will work closely with world-class researchers who have expertise in human genetics, cancer genomics, cell biology and molecular biology.  

What you’ll do 

In this project-based research degree, you will identify new opportunities to target genomic instability in cancers through a broad range of wet-laboratory techniques, including 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional cell culture, drug assays, cancer patient samples, CRISPR genome editing and next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques. 

During the project you will collaborate with other group members, researchers, clinicians and research groups at UniSA. You will interact with cancer patients, oncologists, hospitals, clinics and pharmaceutical companies in order to jointly develop new ways to treat cancer. 

You will perform translational cancer research in a wet-laboratory setting. You will be supported to present your research finding and outcomes at local, national and international meetings, symposia or conferences. 

Upon completion of the project, you will be well positioned to pursue an unstoppable career in the health and medical industry, where you can continue to progress cancer research. 

Where you’ll be based 

You’ll be based at the Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB) on UniSA’s City West campus. CCB is a medical research institute which carries out a world-class program of innovative research, making breakthrough discoveries in the fundamental causes of cancer, and translating these discoveries into new ways to prevent and treat this group of diseases.  

The CCB is an alliance between SA Pathology and the University of South Australia and boasts the largest concentration of cancer research in South Australia, currently hosting 22 full-time research group leaders and their teams.  

CCB laboratories carry out research in leukaemia, breast cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, brain cancer and colon cancer, focussing in the specialised areas of gene regulation, molecular signalling, translational oncology and cancer genomics. In addition to these laboratories, our ACRF cancer Genomics Facility is providing access to state-of-the-art genomics research equipment, computing technology and bioinformatics expertise to Adelaide BioMed Precinct and the wider research community.  

Translation of new discoveries into clinical practice is strengthened by the co-localisation of the laboratories within a single Institute, as well as its proximity and close collaboration with the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the University of South Australia, the University of Adelaide and SAHMRI.  

The CCB also has alliances with leading pharmaceutical companies to rapidly exploit new discoveries. The Institute aims to be a hub of internationally recognized cancer research excellence, achieving tangible outcomes for cancer patients.  

The CCB is a member of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI). 

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, 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. Additionally, applicants must meet the projects selection criteria:  
  • A strong interest and motivation to perform translational cancer research in a wet-laboratory setting.
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 Sunday, 3 December, 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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