PhD Scholarships in Counteracting Age-Associated Neurodegenerative Diseases
Monash University Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute

PhD Scholarships – Counteracting age-associated neurodegenerative diseases using chaperone-based amyloid disaggregases (two positions)

Job No.: 618337

Location: Clayton campus

Employment Type: Full-time

Duration: 3-year fixed-term appointment


The successful applicant will receive a tax-free stipend, at the current value of $29,500 per annum 2021 full-time rate, as per the Monash Research Training Program (RTP) Stipend

The Opportunity:

The proteostasis and cell repair Group at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University studies a novel protein repair pathway involved in clearing disease-linked toxic protein aggregates central to cellular stress recovery and cell/tissue regeneration. The group is headed by NHMRC Fellow Dr Nadinath Nilegoda. Detailed information about the group can be found at

Protein aggregation is a common feature of aging and age-associated neurodegenerative disorders ranging from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) to Parkinson’s disease (PD). Our recent ground-breaking discovery characterized a novel class of Hsp70 chaperone-based protein disaggregases (protein aggregate solubilizing machines) in human cells. These disaggregases constitute a fundamentally important proteostasis pathway involved in clearing protein aggregates induced by proteotoxic stress insults and efficiently target a broad range of amyloid-type aggregates linked to neuro and neuromuscular diseases, thus acting as an important class of disease modulators. Our preliminary findings in disease models of protein aggregation suggest that the dysfunction of this pathway could impinge on the onset, severity, and propagation of neurodegenerative disorders.

The knowledge and experience obtained during our pioneering work on the human disaggregases place us in the best position to rapidly work out the nuts and bolts of how this pathway is regulated in human cells to identify new therapeutic targets and translate the findings into treatments.

Two scholarship opportunities are available to domestic students. 

The first scholarship involves discovery of novel genetic and epigenetic regulators of the protein disaggregation pathway in human cells employing next generation gene editing technology (CRISPR-based), cell biology, and high-throughput screening.

The second scholarship will focus on the identification and in vitro (biochemical) and ex vivo (cell-based) characterization of small molecule activators of amyloid disaggregases to rescue degenerating neurons using models of disease.

The ideal start date is April 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (FMNHS) is Monash University’s largest research faculty. World-class researchers work across disciplines including laboratory-based medical science, applied clinical research, and social and public health research.

Established through a joint venture between Monash University and the Victorian Government, the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) builds on the University's existing strengths in biomedical research and supports the critical infrastructure required to deliver the next generation of discoveries in regenerative medicine.

Candidate requirements

Applications are invited from outstanding and enthusiastic graduates with relevant backgrounds (cell biology, biotechnology, neuroscience, biochemistry, or equivalent) that will have:

  • An excellent academic track record in biological sciences with an Honours or Masters degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline.
  • Time management skills, with the ability to work independently.
  • Organisational and record-keeping skills, with the ability to prioritise multiple tasks to meet deadlines.
  • Written communication and verbal communication skills, with proven ability to produce clear and succinct documents and presentations.
  • A demonstrated capacity to work in a collegiate manner with other staff in the workplace.
  • Experience in cell biology or biochemistry or microscopy would be an advantage.

Interested applicants should refer to the entry requirements for Doctoral Degree (PhD) as per Monash’s requirements:

How to Apply - Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)

Interested candidates should first send an EOI directly to Please state “EOI PhD scholarships – [First name, last name]” in the subject heading of the email, and please include the following:

  • A cover letter that includes a brief statement outlining your suitability for the role;
  • A curriculum vitae, including work and/or research experience;
  • Your academic transcripts;
  • A brief statement not exceeding 500 words in length that explains why you are interested in this project and area;
  • Contact details of two references.

Those candidates who pass the EOI stage will be interviewed over Zoom or Skype if necessary. The interviews will be conducted in English.


Dr Nadinath Nillegoda. NHMRC Fellow, Group Leader

Closing Date

Wednesday 21 April 2021, 11:55pm AEST

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Medicinoxy


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