Novel use of Insect Microbiomes to Prevent Ross River Virus Transmission in Australian Mosquitoes

Closing Date: 31 December 2021Apply Now

PhD Scholarship

Join our team developing environmentally friendly and sustainable mosquito control strategies by leveraging the innate biocontrol potential of insect microbiomes. The position includes a CSIRO PhD Top-up scholarship and industry internship.


Arbovirus transmission in the community, wild animal populations, and livestock impose significant community health and economic impacts. Despite the excellent work of Health Protection NSW and state-wide vector surveillance program, the immerse diversity and size of NSW challenges arbovirus surveillance methods and budgets.

Newcastle and the Hunter region represent diverse and favourable mosquito habitats, including the RAMSAR-protected Hunter Estuary Wetlands, diverse National Parks, large areas of urban and agricultural land use, a working port, and a burgeoning international airport. The saltmarsh mosquito Aedes vigilax is one of Australia’s most prolific mosquito species and is the primary vector of Ross River disease in Australia, a disease with more than 4,000 Australian cases reported each year (& climbing).

The project aims to discover and trial new approaches to modulate mosquito populations and suppress vector competence in target species. By considering the mosquito holobiont (insect, bacteria, fungi, archaea, and viruses) the research will provide unique insights into the symbiotic, commensal, and transiting microbiota and their implications in mosquito health & development, vector competence, and the practical challenges of microbial mosquito management.

This PhD represent one of 3 positions focused around interconnected research themes of arbovirus and vectors of concern surveillance, co-ordinated coastal mosquito management strategies and microbial mosquito population modulation.

PhD Scholarship details

Funding: $28,854 per annum (2022 rate) indexed annually. For a PhD candidate, the living allowance scholarship is for 3.5 years and the tuition fee scholarship is for four years. Scholarships also include up to $1,500 relocation allowance

Supervisor: Professor Brett Neilan

Available to: Domestic students


Eligibility Criteria

The applicant will need to meet the minimum eligibility criteria for admission.

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 December 2021.

Applications Close 31 December 2021 Apply Now

Contact Toby Mills
Phone +61 2 4921 5544

PhD and Research MastersFind out more

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.