The BioZone at UWA brings together researchers with a shared vision and purpose from the faculties of Science, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and Health and Medical Sciences.
We need innovative solutions that address the increasing complexity of local and global challenges and 'wicked problems'. These problems require transformative change in the way we learn, think and interact. The BioZone PhD program will train the next generation of researchers to work across disciplines and create imaginative and revolutionary outcomes.
The first year will be spent developing interdisciplinary skills in areas of need, and working in a wide range of laboratories to gain broad and varied experience and finalise a project. At the end of the year, each student pitches his or her project to all students and supervisors involved in the project, as well as their larger teams.
Second and third years
In the second and third years, students will focus on their research project. A total of 12 months will be spent off campus in an international or national laboratory, government or industry partner. This internship will engage the student in aspects of the research and/or industry that are of interest and relevance to the project. At the end of each year, students will be responsible for organising and hosting an annual conference to showcase their progress and results.
In the final year, students will complete their research and after submission of a written thesis, will 'defend' the thesis in a viva voce examination by the examiners. Formal career guidance will be provided by the students' supervisors, mentors and the partner organisations involved in the research placement.
Details of scholarships provided specifically for BioZone PhD projects are available on the UWA Scholarships website.
Applying for these scholarships is possible after having identified a supervisor, in correspondence with one of the BioZone members.
BioZone PhD projects are interdisciplinary and you will be instrumental in designing your own project as you study and research across multiple disciplines in your first year.
We have outlined possible research areas, but these are not meant to be prescriptive.
Your first step is to identify a supervisor
Before applying, contact us to discuss your research interests so that we can recommend an academic mentor who will support your application.
Broad descriptions are available of current BioZone research areas. Development of a specific project will occur as part of your first year of study.
Meet the first BioZone cohort
Mar Janna Dahl
Mar Janna Dahl is a PhD student in the Preclinical Intensive Care Research Unit at UWA. She is working with a group of international clinical neonatologists, basic scientists, bioengineers, biomaterial scientists, biomedical engineers to better understand fetal breathing during lung development and to test several novel refinements to the currently available fetal treatment for congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). CDH is the failure of the diaphragm to properly close during fetal development allowing the abdominal contents to enter the chest cavity. The result is the underdevelopment of the lungs. CDH is significant birth defect with a prevalence of 1-3 cases per 5000 live births and survival rates or 52-71% in developed countries. Babies that survive face significant long-term health problems including lung, gastro-intestinal, and neurodevelopment delays.
Chris James is a PhD candidate in the School of Molecular Science at the University of Western Australia. Chris has a background in pharmacology and biochemistry and completed his Master of Biotechnology in 2017 where his thesis focused on biomarkers of immune cell activation in the blood. Advancing from his master’s work, Chris’ PhD focuses on developing a technique to measure oxidative stress and inflammation from one drop of blood. A key component of his research to design a straightforward, high throughput methodology as well as a novel blood collection device that facilitates “on-field “sample collection. The resulting technique aims to be suitable for routine use in a wide variety of industries such as clinical drug trials, high performance sports and animal agriculture.
Chris has a keen interest in commercialising scientific research and has been selected to participate in several commercialisation programs, including the highly competitive CSIRO On Accelerate. Chris was also a finalist in the 2018 MedTech’s Got Talent program, Australia’s largest MedTech start-up competition.
Leanne Jiang is a PhD student in the School of Human Sciences and based at the Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science.
Motor neuron disease affects 1 in 10,000 Australians and costs the economy ~$430.9 million per year. There is no cure or effective treatment for this terminal disease. We must uncover the cause of this disease and improve patient and carer livelihood. My PhD will investigate the pores that connect the mitochondria (energy powerhouse) and endoplasmic reticulum (protein builder). I will be following patients at two Perth sites over the course of their disease to collect DNA, tissue samples, and qualitative assessments. By doing so, I may be able to answer some questions: Do patients who present with similar disease onset, have similar genetic variations? How well are patient cells functioning over the course of their disease? Do patients who progress at similar rates also require similar needs (wheelchairs, physiotherapy, etc.)? This research will attempt to stratify patients for better targeted therapeutic development, and better pinpoint the timing for resource intervention!
Awards and Achievements include 2018 NRP Travel award to attend the 2018 Australasian Neuroscience Society conference in Brisbane, Australia; Sparked collaborations with University of Queensland (Australia), and Duke University (USA); Founding member and Chairperson of TEDxUWA since 2016.
- Eric Alves
- Seb Amos
- Sam Bolland