School of Medicine PhD Scholarship "Immune related memory in liver disease"

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    Western Sydney University
    Open until suitable candidate is found
    Formal sciences
    Natural sciences
    Professions and applied sciences



Applications are currently being accepted for a 3 year PhD project to study the role of immune related memory viral and autoimmune hepatitis at Western Sydney University Blacktown and the Westmead Institute for Medical Research. The project will be conducted in the research group of Professor Golo Ahlenstiel and will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.


Immunological memory defines the ability of the immune system to (1) rapidly and specifically recognize an antigen that the body has been previously exposed to and (2) initiate a highly specific immune response. Traditionally, immune related memory is attributed to the adaptive immune response, i.e. T cells and B cells through cytokine release, direct cellular toxicity via antibodies. Natural killer (NK) cells are usually considered part of the innate immune system and considered not to be antigen-specific. However, recent publications suggest that NK cells can, under certain conditions, express memory-like features.


Using state-of-the-art techniques including flow cytometery and CyTOF in in vitro (organoid) and in vivo models (human and mouse), this projects will examine the role of memory-like NK cells in acute and chronic infection as well as autoimmune context with a focus on liver disease to assess their role in pathogenesis, disease progression in liver disease as well as their therapeutic potential in this context.

What is funded

  • Domestic students will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum to support living costs, supported by the Research Training Program (RTP) Fee Offset.
  • International students will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum to support living costs. Those with a strong track record will be eligible for a tuition fee waiver.


3 years


We welcome applicants from a range of backgrounds, that possess laboratory experience and a background in medical/health science and/or molecular biology. In particular, the project is suitable for candidates with strong interests in the immunology of chronic hepatic and gastrointestinal disease

The successful applicant should:

  • hold qualifications and experience equal to one of the following (i) an Australian First Class Bachelor (Honours) degree, (ii) Research Master’s degree, or (iii) equivalent overseas qualifications.
  • demonstrate strong academic performance in subjects relevant to immunology and disease.
  • understand of the importance of identifying the mechanisms of disease in order to generate novel treatments and interventions.
  • be willing to learn novel lab based and analytical techniques using a variety or advanced instrumentation.
  • be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level.
  • International applicants must also meet English language proficiency.


The responsibility for the funding offers published on this website, including the funding description, lies entirely with the publishing institutions. The application is handled uniquely by the employer, who is also fully responsible for the recruitment and selection processes.