The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute was established in 2007 as the sixth research institute of The University of Queensland. The aim of the Institute is to develop a better understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of disease, and to translate that understanding into practical outcomes for patients. Based at the Translational Research Institute (TRI) at the Princess Alexandra Hospital teaching campus in Brisbane, the Institute has almost 200 researchers and students who work closely with clinicians in the areas of cancer, immunology and genomic medicine. UQDI is the largest partner in TRI, and is building major programs in Immunology, Cancer and Genomic Medicine research, with a particular focus on research aimed at development of new treatments. Details of the research interests of academic staff may be accessed on the Institute's web site at http://www.di.uq.edu.au/research.
The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Genomics (UQCCG) is the largest next generation sequencing centre in the Southern Hemisphere and has a specific focus on translational medicine. Along with its collaborators, we have sequenced in excess of 150 AML exomes and anticipate sequencing an additional 150 AML whole genomes in 2013. Over 1000 other control exomes have also been sequenced, providing a unique data resource to develop cutting edge genomic analysis tools. The Project
The focus of this project is to study the genetic profile of blood cancers, with a specific focus on the myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), through the analysis of next-generation sequencing data.
Patients diagnosed with MDS display abnormal haematopoietic differentiation and an ineffective production of mature blood cells. MDS is mostly associated with advanced age, but also with exposure to radiation, chemotherapeutic agents and other toxic chemicals, or inherited syndromes related to abnormalities in DNA repair. Overall, the prognosis for patients is poor, with most patients developing AML within months of diagnosis and a median survival ranging from several months to years. While therapeutic agents can control symptoms and improve quality-of- life, haematopoietic stem cell transplantation provides the best treatment option with a ~50% 3-year survival rate. Novel targeted therapies that further improve patient survival rates are therefore required, and are likely to be developed as a consequence of studies that more precisely determine the genetic basis of these disorders.
The candidate will develop algorithms to detect a comprehensive set of mutations in MDS and AML, an analysis that will require the use of high performance computing and programming in R and Perl. The candidate will collaborate with laboratory based researchers to assist in the functional analysis of those mutations, and those that delineate the transformation from MDS to AML.
The candidate will have a 1st Class Honours degree or equivalent in science, and should be eligible for an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) or University of Queensland Research Scholarship (UQRS). We will consider students from a wide range of backgrounds, including: mathematics, statistics, epidemiology, computer science, bioinformatics, physics, genetics, and molecular biology. Laboratory experience in molecular biology, cell biology and genetics is also desirable. Applicants should be fluent in English.
The base stipend will be at the rate of AUD$24,653 per annum (2014 rate) tax-free for three years with the possibility of a six month extension in approved circumstances. Top-up salary may be available to suitably qualified candidates. Contact
For further information about the research project, please contact Dr Paul Leo (email@example.com) or Dr Linda Scott (firstname.lastname@example.org). For information about entering the UQ PhD program and for the full terms and conditions, please visit the UQ Graduate School website at http://www.uq.edu.au/grad-school.
To submit an application please go to www.uq.edu.au/uqjobs and search under scholarships.