PhD Scholarship in Unveiling The Nanoscale Organisation and Dynamics of Synaptic Vesicle Pools

The University of Queensland is pleased to invite applicants to apply for a PhD position in cell biology. The funding allows successful candidate to work for three years. The deadline for applying is September 30, 2019.

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.

Brain cells are characterised by their ability to communicate with each other at the synapse and to survive much longer than any other cells. These two essential properties are affected in ageing and disease.

Our laboratory has contributed to the rapidly emerging super-resolution field by providing a means of visualising single molecule behaviour in living neurosecretory cells and primary neuron nerve endings (1-4) to unravel some of the key steps of neuronal communication. The successful candidate will join the established laboratory group of Professor Frederic Meunier at the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland and will use super-resolution microscopy among other methods to detect and track individual protein molecules in live cultured neurons. Communication between neurons relies on the fusion of synaptic vesicles containing neurotransmitters with the presynaptic plasma membrane. The nerve terminals also process surviving cues that are controlled by the level of synaptic activity. How the synaptic vesicles recycling mechanism cross talk with that generating signalling endosomes remains unknown. In this project, we aim to use our recently developed single synaptic vesicle super-resolution tracking methods to establish how various molecules impact on these two trafficking processes. Ultimately, this project will establish how neurons manage to preserve their astonishing ability to communicate and survive.

To learn more about the research group and its leader, Professor Fred Meunier, please click here.

Expressions of Interest are invited from outstanding and enthusiastic, international and Australian, science graduates ideally with a background in neuroscience, cell biology or biophysics or other relevant scientific discipline. Candidates will have a First Class Honours, Master of Science degree or equivalent and should be eligible for UQ scholarship consideration. Previous experience with microscopy and image analysis as well as working with cell cultures and/or primary neurons would be helpful.

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

Selected prospective international or domestic student will receive a UQ scholarship consisting of tuition fees, a living stipend and Overseas Student Health Cover (for international applicants) to work on a project aligned with a successful ARC Discovery Project (DE190100674). The 2019 Research Training Program (RTP) living allowance stipend rate is AUD$27,596 per annum (tax-free and indexed annually) for three years, with the possibility of extension up to 12 months (conditions apply).Click here for further information on scholarships.

To discuss this role and for further information, please contact Professor Fred Meunier ( or Ms Rachel Gormal (

To submit an Expression of Interest for consideration, please send the following documents: cover letter; complete official tertiary academic transcripts (with grades/GPA scores, and official grading scale details) and award certificates (testamurs); and a detailed academic resume/CV to Professor Frederic Meunier ( and Ms Rachel Gormal (

Applications for both domestic and international students close 30 September2019. The scholarships is offered to a successful applicant via responsive mode, so applicants do not have to wait for a scholarship round to apply.

Please visit the advertisement on the Grad School website for information on how to apply.Please donot click the apply button.

Deadline: September 30, 2019
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