Jobs at UQ

We are always interested to hear from researchers with a strong interest in our research programmes and who have the potential to make significant impact.   We welcome approaches from talented scientists who can construct innovative and original research programmes allied to our general research focus.   We expect that such individuals can generate support for their stay with internationally competitive fellowships such as:

All countries:

Further information



PhD Studentships
Expressions of interest from prospective postgraduate students are welcome at any time. To discuss the PhD projects detailed below please contact: info-coopergroup@imb.uq.edu.au

If you have read the project summaries below and would like to submit an expression of interest, click here to download an expression of interest form. Please apply via UQjobs link and attach your CV, cover letter and expression of interest form.

Individual supervisors will invite selected applicants to submit a full application and will provide advice about university scholarship applications at this time.

If you require information on availability of PhD places please contact Amanda Carozzi at postgrad-office@imb.uq.edu.au

For other information on student opportunities at the Intstitute for Molecular Bioscience click here.

We currently have projects available in the following areas:
Medicinal Chemistry | Structural Biology / Antibiotic Mode of Action |Computer Aided Drug Design | Inflammation | Diagnostics & Dengue


Medicinal Chemistry

PhD Project Name: Medicinal Chemistry Development of a GPCR Receptor Agonist to Reduce Inflammation

Excessive inflammatory response results in a range of serious medical conditions.  Neutrophil mobilisation is a key component of the inflammatory cascade resulting from injuries such as ischemia.  A series of short peptides designed for an inflammation pathway GPCR target have recently show unexpected activity at a related GPCR that has been validated as an attractive therapeutic possibility. These peptides contain a key structural motif that is ripe for exploitation in a peptidomimetic hit-to-lead drug discovery project.  Initial studies will focus on exploring the structure-activity relationship (SAR) around the active peptides, followed by a concerted effort to improve potency and drug-like properties via peptide to small molecule peptidomimetic strategies.  We seek a motivated and talented student interested in medicinal chemistry, with a focus on peptidomimetic design, chemical synthesis and structural NMR willing to learn a range of techniques to drive this multidisciplinary project.



Computer Aided Drug Design

PhD Project Name:  Predictive model and knowledge base system for antimicrobial activity

As part of the ongoing antimicrobial research, we are interested in developing a comprehensive knowledge base system for antimicrobial drug discovery, especially against Gram-negative bacteria such as E. coli, P. aeruginosa and K. pneumonia. The aim of the knowledge base system is to collect and link all information relevant for the discovery of novel antibacterial compounds, including chemical and microbiological information, using modern chemo- and bio-informatic data management and classification (ontology) system. The main aim is to use the system build comprehensive predictive models for antimicrobial activity, using various machine learning methods based on the chemical structure of a compound. The project will utilize the vast amount of in-house data generated from the many different antibacterial drug discovery projects as well as from high-through put screening campaigns specifically design for this project. These predictive models will be an integral part of our antibacterial drug discovery projects. We are looking for highly motivated candidates interested in data modeling and machine learning, data and knowledge management, as well as strong interest in chemoinformatics and bioinformatics.  


PhD Project Name: Drug delivery and Membrane penetration of Antibacterial Compounds

How and why do small molecules (drugs) penetrate bacterial membranes?

As part of the ongoing antimicrobial research, we are interested in developing a comprehensive predictive system for antimicrobial activity, especially against Gram-negative bacteria such as E. coli, P. aeruginosa and K. pneumonia. The aim of the project is to use a mechanistic approach in the development of novel compounds. Gram-negative bacteria possess an innate resistance to many of the antibacterial compound classes due to their additional outer membrane, limiting penetration and accumulation of active compounds within the bacterial cell. It is currently difficult to predict the likelihood of activity against Gram-negative bacteria, due to the lack of information on how and why compounds penetrate bacterial membranes. The aim of the project is to study the outer and inner membrane penetration of various antibacterial compounds, utilizing a vast range of different assay technologies (visualization, labeled and label-free assays, chemical analytical technologies), accessible out our facilities. We looking for high motivated candidates interested in microbiology, biochemical and biological assay development, as well as with a strong interest in the discovery of novel active compounds against bacteria, including interest in chemical analysis. 


PhD Project Name: Novel ligand based screening methods using multi-conformational information

Most drug discovery and development projects rely on ligand based virtual screening methods, in which no structural information of the target enzyme or protein is known and the selection of novel potentially active compounds is only based on a chemical information of known active (and non-active) compounds. Current ligand based methods lack or under-represent the three-dimensional spatial information of compounds. The project aims to stream line the workflow and incorporate off-target activity, pharmacokinetic property and localization prediction in the process. The aim is to optimize the ligand based screening methods for mainly cell-based and in vivo assays which require additional properties such as cell penetration, metabolic stability and low off-target activity, which are mostly ignored in current methodologies. The project will have access to a wide range of chemo/bio-informatic tool kits, statistical tool kits and workflow management systems (pipeline pilot), as well as a high-performance computer infrastructure. For this project we are looking for highly motivated candidates with an interest in computer based data modeling and molecular modeling, and an interest in novel drug discovery. The candidates will be working within multiple drug discovery projects and will require good communication skills. 

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PhD Project Name: The biological role of the C5L2 receptor

Inflammation is a protective biological response the human body instigates when challenged with a harmful stimulus. It is crucial in innate immunity and is tightly regulated. The complement cascade plays a significant role in this innate immune response, where C3aR and C5aR receptors play a huge role in regulation. The C5a receptor is of particular interest to us it has been implicated in a range of disorders including inflammation, chronic lung disease, arthritis, bacterial pneumonia and sepsis. The second known, but not well characterized C5a receptor C5L2, has been reported to be a decoy receptor for C5aR (crucial receptor for mediating inflammation). The group is currently undertaking preliminary studies to determine how and if C5L2 and C5aR interact with one another and the individual will be involved in a continuation of this work. The individual will be involved in deciphering signalling mechanisms, and finding a therapeutic use for this receptor with the help of the chemistry team to design and synthesise ligands.

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Diagnostics & Dengue

PhD Project Name: Biomimetic supported membranes on magnetic nanoparticles

Solid supported lipid bilayers are biomimetic reconstructions that can closely reproduce the natural environment of cell-membrane bound probes, thus insuring proper surface orientation, molecular arrangement and fluidity for binding. We propose to immobilize supported lipid bilayer on magnetic nanoparticles and to introduce suitable receptors on the surface to generate a library of novel probes for biosensing and biophysical studies. The major aim of the PhD project is the development of a library of functionalized supported lipid bilayers on magnetic particles and to develop novel nanotechnologies for biosensing. In addition, extensive biophysical characterization of the conjugates will provide novel insight on the mechanism of interaction with the target molecules.


Click here to download an expression of interest form.

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