School of Medicine PhD Scholarship "Achieving sustainable outcomes in obesity"

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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 interventions based around nutrition, lifestyle, mental health or metabolism to treat obesity and/or fatty liver disease. The project will be conducted under supervision by Professor Golo Ahlenstiel and will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.


Obesity is a multifactorial condition associated with a high risk for hypertension, dyslipidaemia, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular complications, stroke, obstructive sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and even cancers. Despite a growing understanding of disease aetiology and advances in pharmacological therapy, obesity rates have quadrupled between 1986-2000. National statistics from Australian sources predict that normal-weight adults will constitute less than a third of the population by 2025, and that the prevalence of obesity will have increased by 65%.


To cure obesity, long-term weight loss needs to be achieved. While lifestyle interventions can be successful, long-term efficacy results are disappointing. Hence, bariatric Surgery is now considered the most effective modality for sustainable weight loss and for curing co-morbidities. NSW Health has recently invested into the largest publicly funded obesity program in Australia based at Blacktown Hospital that A) provides a multidisciplinary approach to obesity and B) funding for 100 bariatric surgeries per year. Multi-centre ethics covering three large tertiary hospitals and two research centres is approved allowing for longitudinal data collection, biobanking and data linkage.


This provides an opportunity examine the role of nutrition, lifestyle, mental health or metabolic interventions to achieve long-term sustainable outcomes in obese patient in the context of a multi- and interdisciplinary setting.

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.