Postgraduate student opportunities

Gaining your postgraduate qualifications as part of the IDEAL Research Hub will give you the edge in the areas of materials science, nanotechnology, molecular bioscience and device development.

You will excel in research project management and also gain knowledge and experience in intellectual property and commercialisation through connections with our industry partners.

Postgraduate study opportunities are offered by the two Australian university nodes involved in the IDEAL Research Hub .

Seize the opportunity to work with highly talented people, in world class facilities, and become an innovator in your field.

PhD Opportunities

PhD Scholarship in Implantable Biochemical Sensor Technology

A PhD Scholarship is available for a suitably qualified candidate within the School of Life Science at University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Candidates must be Australian citizens or have Australian permanent residency status. This PhD scholarship is for 3 years with a possible 6 month extension.

Working with Dr Charles Cranfield (UTS) and his commercial partner, Adj Prof Bruce Cornell (SDx Surgical Diagnostics Pty Ltd), this project seeks to create a new family of short term implantable sensor. This project will suit students with a background in either pharmacology, chemistry, biochemistry or biophysics. As part of your PhD work you will receive training electrical impedance spectroscopy techniques. Your research will be in the Life Science Laboratories at UTS’ Ultimo Campus right in the heart of Sydney. There will also be opportunities to work directly with the commercial partner at their headquarters in Roseville and potentially in a clinical setting. This project is supported by the Australia Research Council funded IDEAL Hub.

UTS has a strong commitment to Equity and Diversity, and we especially encourage women and indigenous students seeking to make a career in a STEM science field to apply.

Interested candidates should get in touch with Dr Charles Cranfield charles.cranfield@uts.edu.au for more information.

University of South Australia 

The University of South Australia (UniSA) is currently seeking four suitable PhD candidates, preferably Australian/New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

Value

$32,788 per year for 3 years

Eligibility

The scholarship is open to Australian and NZ Citizens and permanent residents of Australia and international students. Applicants must meet the entry requirements for a research degree program at the University of South Australia.

The IDEAL Hub projects will suit students with strong background in one or more of lab-on-a-chip technologies, micro/nanofluidics, analytical and physical chemistry, photonics and laser physics, materials science (including biomaterials and interfaces), and electrochemical sensing. Students with skills in medical devices, biosensors, environmental sensors, and/or advanced micro/nanofabrication techniques will be preferred.

Scholarships will be located at 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 represents UniSA’s largest single investment in research and builds on the significant capability, infrastructure and reputation of the University’s existing research strengths and substantial research infrastructure.

FII’s 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 innovations and solutions.

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

The scholarships are linked to UniSA’s industry projects within the IDEAL Hub. Please read the projects below to learn more.

Project 1: Nano-structured Interfaces for Biofluid Capture, Separation, and Detection

Biological fluids are notoriously complex, containing large molecules (e.g. proteins), particulates (e.g. blood cells), and many surface-active molecules that tend to foul interfaces. While handling these fluids is known to be difficult, sampling from humans is problematic due to ethical considerations and practical challenges. This project will address the need for non-invasive and precise capture of biofluids in circumstances far from the laboratory. Micro and nano-structured materials will be prepared to serve the dual purpose of fluid collection/mobility and separation of target molecules via autonomous mechanisms, such as spontaneous transport through nano-forests (e.g., size exclusion or chromatography). Integrated coatings, electrodes, optical readouts will be exploited to enhance sampling, sensitivity and selectivity.

Project 2: Advanced Optofluidic Sensing Modes in Nano-Volume Microsensors

The University of South Australia has recently developed a 600 nL spectroscopy cuvette that relies on spontaneous wicking of a 10-20 micrometre liquid film. The device promises unparalleled ease-of-use and has been proven for high molar absorptivity samples. This project will value-add to the technology by embedding optic waveguides (and other optical materials or sensing modes) into the cuvette to facilitate low-abundance detection of an array of target molecules/ions on a disposable, low-volume platform. Waveguides may be achieved through direct-writing of higher refractive index material in specialty glasses or polymers or using supported liquid filaments/films, as observed in preliminary results. The ability to quickly and easily screen many biomolecules, drugs, and/or environmental contaminants using a tiny droplet of sample using, for example, a visible ‘barcode’ readout with integrated optics.

Project 3: Surface Treatment/Coating Strategies for Non-Invasive Wearable Sensors

Wearable sensors are increasingly common for many physiological parameters; however, the ability to non-invasively track chemical signatures is more difficult due to the necessity of on-board reagents, manipulation of fluids, and appropriate chemical readouts. Passive transport of, for example, sweat can be achieved in the short term by absorbent materials. This project will explore the preparation of novel, flexible micro/nanostructured chips using our industry partners state-of-the-art coating and etching capabilities. The passive fluid sampling will be feasible over long time-scales, under variable humidity and temperature, and on flexible chip materials. Initial targets will include chemical signatures of health, exposure, and disease.

Project 4: Microfluidic Vortex Shedding for CAR-T Gene Therapy

Gene-modified cell therapies such as chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-T) represent the most promising therapeutics for many patients with advanced disease. Despite the unprecedented patient outcomes, these therapies are limited to a minute fraction of the diseased patient population due to limited manufacturing scales and cumbersome development processes. Indee Labs is addressing the most problematic manufacturing step, gene delivery, by using microscopic fluid dynamics or microfluidic vortex shedding (µVS) to gently and efficiently porate the cell membrane allowing for gene delivery. The project will explore the development of µVS devices for delivering various constructs to human immune cells while also performing basic research into µVS.

Indee Labs is a seed-stage start-up backed by American (SOSV/IndieBio, Y Combinator, Social Capital & Founders Fund) and Australian (Main Sequence Ventures) investors. The team has also received non-dilutive funding from the Australian Research Council, AusTrade, MTP Connect and the NSW Health Medical Device Fund.

Project 5: Evidential Alcohol Breath Testing Unit

Rapid and cost-effective methods for screening of drugs of abuse (e.g. cannabis, amphetamines, opiates etc.) are required for applications such as roadside and workplace drug testing, most existing methods rely of specific and selective detection of specific compounds but are less effective for related compounds (e.g. synthetic cannabinoids) which are also important targets. Mass spectrometry offers a detection method capable of determining both known drugs of abuse as well as new, related compounds. This project will explore the development of new methods based on portable mass spectrometry and/or other spectrometric methods for rapid, at-site detection of drugs of abuse.

How to apply and closing date

Apply online

Applications open until filled.
Applicants should submit CV, transcripts, supporting statement and names and contact details of three referees. For more information contact Prof Emily Hilder at FutureIndustries.InstituteEnquires@unisa.edu.au