The University of Newcastle, Australia

Blood-brain barrier dysfunction in cardiovascular disease

Closing Date: 31 May 2019

PhD Scholarship

Irregular and rapid heartbeat can lead to cardiovascular disease, including heart failure, blood clots and stroke, affecting millions of people worldwide. Recent evidence suggests a link between cardiovascular disease and brain injury, most likely due to disrupted blood-brain barrier (BBB, the physiological barrier that protects the brain from blood-borne toxins and pathogens, and regulates molecular traffic between the blood and the brain). Maintaining normal blood flow is essential for brain endothelial function, including maintaining barrier integrity. We have shown that microvessicles (MVs, small membraneous vesicles released by cells) are released from brain endothelial cells during inflammatory conditions leading to barrier dysfunction. We hypothesise that MVs released during conditions with altered blood flow or sheer stress will lead to disruption of the BBB and worsening of outcomes. The aim of this project is to investigate the underlying mechanisms with a focus on the BBB.

Brain stroke

This project is a collaboration between researchers based at the University of Sydney (USYD) and the University of Newcastle (UoN). Therefore, the PhD candidate will also be required to spend some time at the Faculty of Medicine & Health, University of Sydney. They will use state of the art models of the BBB, and gain experience in a variety of cellular and molecular assays, and advanced microscopy skills. In addition, if desired, the student will have the opportunity to gain experience in some in vivo models. They will join a team undertaking an array of preclinical and clinical research in this field, and will have access to cutting-edge laboratory equipment, exceptional mentoring opportunities, and collaborative work with overseas biotech companies. Applicants should have strong work ethics, and communication and teamwork skills. Out of hours and weekend work maybe required due to the nature of the project.

PhD Scholarship details

Funding: $27,596 per annum indexed annually. The living allowance scholarship is for 3.5 years and the tuition fee scholarship is for four years.

Supervisor: Dr Adjanie Patabendige (principal supervisor at UoN), Prof Georges Grau (co-supervisor at USYD) and A/Prof Doan Ngo (co-supervisor/collaborator at UoN)

Available to: Domestic students


Eligibility Criteria

In addition to the minimum eligibility criteria, we are seeking applications from individuals who have completed, or are shortly expected to complete, an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science or an equivalent degree. Applicants are required to have a first class or second-class upper honours degree. Strong proficiency in English is essential. The successful applicant must be able to commence their PhD by 15th December 2019.

Application Procedure

Interested applicants should send an email expressing their interest along with scanned copies of their academic transcripts, CV, a brief statement of their research interests and a proposal that specifically links them to the research project.

Please send the email expressing interest to by 5pm on 31 May 2019.

Applications Close 31 May 2019

Contact Dr Adjanie Patabendige
Phone +61 2 4921 7856

PhD and Research MastersFind out more