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PhD scholarship - Understanding the dynamics of the blood-brain barrier in response to therapeutic ultrasound

Apply now Job No:508209
Area:Queensland Brain Institute
Salary (FTE):RTP Scholarship NON-BANDED ($27,596.00 - $27,596.00)
Work type:Full Time - Scholarship
Location: St Lucia

Queensland Brain Institute

The Queensland Brain Institute works to understand the development, organisation and function of the brain. We aim to understand the neural circuits in the brain, how their function results in behavioural outcomes, and how dysfunction of these circuits leads to disorders such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. We aim to (1) Develop novel therapeutic approaches to treat disorders of neural function and (2) Use our understanding of brain function to improve learning in classrooms and in the workplace.

Established in 2003, QBI ( is housed on the St Lucia campus of UQ. It is home to more than 450 staff and students, including 41 group leaders.

The award

We have a fantastic opportunity funded by the University of Queensland for a PhD student scholarship within the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI).

The brain is considered to be the last frontier, both in terms of understanding how it operates and in accessing it for therapeutic intervention. Our laboratory works in both spaces: deciphering the role of key molecules and signalling pathways in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and developing novel ultrasound-based techniques to overcome the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The BBB restricts the flow of blood-borne substances into the interstitial brain space, facilitated by tight junctions between the cells that constitute the blood vessels thereby hindering paracellular transport, and a very low number of vesicles, thereby reducing transcytosis. Application of pulsed ultrasound (US) in the presence of intravenously injected microbubbles has been shown to transiently open the BBB in different model organisms. In previous studies by our laboratory, we demonstrated that delivery of ultrasound to Alzheimer's mice was sufficient to remove amyloid plaques and tau tangles and restore cognitive function. The study will use imaging technology such as two-photon microscopy to investigate the dynamics of BBB opening following ultrasound treatment aided by the used of fluorescently labelled dextrans, thereby contributing to our strategies of using ultrasound as a therapy for Alzheimer's disease.

Selection criteria

You will have a Bachelor of Science with Honours or a Masters equivalent. 

To be eligible to apply, you must also meet the entry requirements for Higher Degrees by Research at UQ. Please visit the Graduate School's website.


The 2019 Research Training Program (RTP) living allowance stipend rate is AUD$27,596 per annum (indexed annually), which is tax-free for three years with two possible extensions of up to 6 months each in approved circumstances (conditions apply). For further information on this scholarship refer to:

In addition, the Tuition fees will be waved for up to 4 years. The successful applicant will also benefit from a $3500 conference travel funding. Subject to conditions and the applicant application, the applicant could be eligible to an additional $5,000 top‐up per annum proved by the QBI.

Enquiries and How to Apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow the link to the PhD Scholarship page: There is no separate application for scholarship because you will be given the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Prior to applying, check your eligibility and prepare your documentation.

You should also contact Professor Jürgen Götz ( to discuss your suitability for this scholarship prior to submitting an application.

Please ensure that you

  1. Select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'
  2. Enter in the free-text field ‘BBB’
  3. List the enrolling unit as the Queensland Brain Institute
  4. Enter Professor Jürgen Götz as your supervisor

Applicants will be required to attend an interview either on site or via video-conference.

This scholarship will most likely be filled before the end of the life of the advertising period, so please don’t hesitate to come into contact with us as soon as possible.

Please do not click the apply button.

Applications close: E. Australia Standard Time

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