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PhD Scholarships available for projects in 2017

Student News
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 10:00am
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The Murdoch Children's Research Institute and Department of Paediatrics, based at the Melbourne Children's Campus, have exciting and diverse research projects that encompass laboratory, clinical and public health projects.

PhD Scholarship for project with the NHMRC Safer Families Centre of Research Excellence

Project: Understanding the underlying dynamics, impact and health consequences of intimate partner violence for women and children

Supervisors: Professor Stephanie Brown and Dr Deirdre Gartland

Globally, one in three women experience physical or sexual violence by intimate partners. Between the birth of a first child and that child turning one year of age, one if five women report experiences of emotional and/or physical violence by an intimate partner, translating to around 60,000 Australian families affected in this phase of life each year. Intimate partner violence damages the mental and physical health of women and children, and is a leading contributor to death and disability for women of childbearing age.

We are looking to recruit a PhD scholar to examine the underlying dynamics, impact and health consequences of exposure to intimate partner violence drawing on longitudinal data collected in a Victorian prospective cohort of over 1500 first time mothers and their children. The PhD scholar will be based in the Healthy Mothers Healthy Families group at MCRI, and will have opportunities to participate in capacity-building and peer mentoring activities of the newly established NHMRC Safer Families CRE.

A PhD scholarship of $26,300 per annum for 3 years is available for the successful candidate to pursue a project focused on understanding the dynamics of intimate partner violence and consequences for women and children. There is some flexibility regarding the focus of the research on maternal and/or child outcomes, and the successful candidate will have some room to design aspects of their own project. The Institute also offers extensive student support, including travel and top-up scholarships that can be applied for internally. Candidates will be expected to apply for other competitive external fellowships.

Who can apply? Applications are welcome from applicants who meet the following criteria:

  • An Australian citizen, New Zealand citizen or Australian permanent resident
  • Meet the entry criteria for a Doctoral (Research) degree at the University of Melbourne.
  • Hold a strong interest in one or all of the following areas: domestic and family violence, maternal mental health, intergenerational health, child mental health, epidemiology and quantitative methods.

How to apply? Please email Professor Stephanie Brown a detailed CV, names and addresses of 2 referees, and a covering letter highlighting your research experience and capabilities, and any publications or reports


PhD Scholarship available for project in gonocyte transformation

Project Title: Analysis of gene regulations on gonocyte transformation into spermatogonial stem cells

Undescended testis (UDT) is a major health problem, affecting over 2-4% of males at birth. Boys with UDT face two major problems later in life (20-40 years of age) even after surgically correcting the testis position. One of the problems is infertility, in which 30-60% of males with cryptorchidism will be infertile; and the other is testicular cancer, where the risk of testicular cancer in cryptorchidism is 5-10 fold higher than for normal young men. Infertility and testicular cancer are likely caused by failed transformation of gonocytes (stem cells forming sperm) into spermatogonial stem cells (SSC). Currently UDT surgery is recommended at 6-12 months, but it is not known whether this is the right time as there is insufficient knowledge about early postnatal germ cell development. Our group have studied gonocyte transformation for many years with fully established foundations for the project.

We are seeking an enthusiastic and motivated PhD candidate with an Honours or Masters degree in a relevant science/biomed/medicine discipline. They must be keen to work in the laboratory setting with both disease models and human biopsies to join us as a team member of our research project.

This project is suitable for a PhD candidate who wishes to focus on analysis of the gene regulations in gonocyte transformation and the effect of congenital UDT on gonocyte transformation using various disease models and human UDT biopsies. The study will involve molecular biology, cell biology, histology and next generation sequencing.

A PhD scholarship of $25,000 per annum for 3 years is available for a candidate to pursue this project. The Institute also offers extensive student support, including travel and top-up scholarships that can be applied for internally.

Supervisors for the project: Dr Ruili Li and Prof John Hutson. For queries, please contact Dr Ruili Li (


PhD scholarship for projects with the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Speech and Language NeurobioloGY (CRE-SLANG)

Project: Genetic bases of childhood speech sound disorders

Over half a million Australian children present with communication disorders annually, with life-long impacts on emotional health, social relationships, literacy attainment and employment. These conditions include severe and striking speech disorders such as stuttering and childhood apraxia of speech. Despite the burden of communication disorders, little is understood regarding their aetiology, preventing development of therapies targeting underlying pathways.

Through our recently awarded NHMRC CRE-SLANG, we are able to offer PhD stipends to examine the genetic bases of severe childhood speech sound disorder. In particular, we are looking to recruit PhD students from a speech pathology background who are passionate about detailed diagnostic phenotyping of children and families with a strong history of speech sound disorder. 

Two PhD scholarships of $35,000 per annum for 3 years are available for the successful candidates to pursue projects focused on the genetic bases of childhood speech sound disorders. There is some flexibility of the condition(s) studied (i.e., apraxia of speech, stuttering, etc) and the successful candidates will have some room to design aspects of their own project. The Institute also offers extensive student support, including travel and top-up scholarships that can be applied for internally. Candidates will be expected to apply for competitive external fellowships as part of the CRE-SLANG grant remit.

For information about being a student at the Institute see our PhD website.

For general student queries please contact: