Metabolite regulation of mitochondrial fission

Deadline: Open All Year Round

Project Description

The Metabolic Signalling Laboratory at St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research (SVI, Melbourne, Australia) is advertising a full-time funded PhD project. The laboratory applies biochemistry, cell biology and animal models to understand cellular metabolism and ultimately treat human disease [1,2]. Further information about the Metabolic Signalling Laboratory can be found on this website:

This PhD project will investigate the biological roles of long chain fatty acid CoAs as direct regulators of metabolic enzymes. The project will focus on the GTPase DRP1 (dynamin-related protein 1), the effector of mitochondrial fission, as well as central kinases (e.g., AMPK, MEK, ERK) involved in its regulation [3]. Our latest discoveries have revealed a co-ordinated, metabolite-sensing capacity linking cellular nutrient availability to mitochondrial function and reveal new treatments for neurodegeneration, mitochondrial diseases and cancer. For more information on the project, please contact Laboratory Head A/Prof Jon Oakhill ([email protected]).

Full training will be provided in techniques required for the project: recombinant protein expression and purification, protein biochemistry, mammalian cell culture, microscopy and in vivo metabolic profiling. The Metabolic Signalling Laboratory also contains expertise in mass spectrometry and structural biology. Our group provides an inclusive and diverse environment with a strong track record in research excellence and high impact student publications [4,5]. HDR students are expected to be enthusiastic, communicate effectively and will be provided opportunity to participate in national and international conferences and overseas research collaboration.

About SVI:

St Vincent’s Medical Research Institute (SVI) is an independent institute (with close ties to University of Melbourne and Australian Catholic University) that conducts the highest quality biomedical research into the cause, prevention and treatment of common diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity, bone disease and Alzheimer’s disease. For over 60 years, SVI has taken on the challenge of fundamentally understanding and conquering these diseases to create better health outcomes for all Australians.

Funding Information

An Australian Research Council funded stipend of $32,400 pa is available for the 3-year duration of the PhD, with opportunity for $5,000 pa top-up provided by the SVI Foundation.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the award of a scholarship applicants must:

Be an Australian citizen; or a New Zealand citizen; or have already been granted permanent resident status of Australia; and

Meet PhD admission requirements, including an Australian Honours degree Class 1 or 2A or equivalent qualification, including a research component of at least 6 months full-time study achieving Distinction (80%); and

Be available to commence as a full-time PhD student in Melbourne in Q4 2022.

Be experienced with biology laboratory methods (e.g., bacterial and mammalian cell culture) is desired but not required. Students with a background in biology are encouraged to apply.

Please be advised this is a Funded PhD Project available to students living in Australia.

Application Process

The application for this project and admission to a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) are separate processes.

Interested candidates should first send an expression of interest to A/Prof Jon Oakhill ([email protected]). Please state “EOI PhD project” in the subject of the email and please include the following:

  • A cover letter that outlines your research interests and/or your motivation for pursuing a PhD; and
  • A curriculum vitae, including any work and/or research experience; and
  • Copies of academic transcripts; and
  • Contact details of two references.

Applicants will be shortlisted as soon as applications are received. The successful candidate will ideally begin by the end of 2022, but this is subject to negotiation.

The applicant that is successful will then apply for admission to a relevant HDR at University of Melbourne with reference to this award.

Only eligible applicants will be notified of application outcomes.


1. Ling et al, (2020) Nature Metabolism 2:41-49
2. Pinkosky et al, (2020) Nature Metabolism 2:873-881
3. Rosdah et al, (2020) Pharmacology & Therapeutics 213:107594
4. Dite et al, (2018) Nature Communications 293:8874-8885
5. Ovens et al, (2022) Biochemical Journal 479: 1181-1204