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Comparison, validation and characterisation of primary human cutaneous squamous call carcinoma cells (cSCC) isolated and cultured using different techniques
Primary supervisor: Pablo Fernandez Penas
cSCC is a common skin cancer with malignant potential, the highest incidence of which occurs in Australia. Patients experience high morbidity levels and those with malignant disease have a poor outcome, highlighting the need for early detection and
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Characterising ‘Bona-Fide’ Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Responses in Initial HIV Infection
Primary supervisor: Najla Nasr
Introduction More than 30 years after its discovery, human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV) still propagates worldwide and as of 2016, 36.7 million individuals are living with HIV. Although the advent of antiretroviral therapy has meant HIV can
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Periodontitis as a potential trigger of oxidative stress in the brain: A potential link between inflammation and depressive symptoms in older adults
Primary supervisor: Joerg Eberhard
Aim The proposed project is based on the recent work by Duffy et al. (2015) who demonstrated an association between Glutathione concentration in the anterior cingulate cortex and depressive symptoms in a group of older adults ‘at
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Bioinformatic methods in clinical meta-transcriptomics
Primary supervisor: John-Sebastian Eden
Major Theme(s):  Bioinformatics Core Techniques:  Pathogen discovery; Computational pipelines; Sequence QC and trimming; De novo assembly; Meta-genome annotation; High-performance computing; Relational databases; Data Visualisation;
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Evolution and molecular epidemiology of RSV and other “non-flu” respiratory viruses in Australia
Primary supervisor: John-Sebastian Eden
Major Theme(s):  Virology; Genomics Core Techniques:  Viral nucleic acid extractions; RT-PCR; Library preparation; High-throughput sequencing; Sequence QC and trimming; De novo assembly; Genome annotation; High-performance computing;
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Revealing transmission networks using pathogen genomics
Primary supervisor: John-Sebastian Eden
Major Theme(s):  Virology; Genomics Core Techniques:  Viral nucleic acid extractions; RT-PCR; Library preparation; High-throughput sequencing; Sequence QC and trimming; De novo assembly; Genome annotation; High-performance
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Delineating the role of turnover rates and T cell activation in maintaining the latent HIV reservoir during effective antiretroviral therapy
Primary supervisor: Sarah Palmer
Over 36 million people are estimated to currently be infected with HIV-1, which is a significant public health and economic burden to the global community. Current therapies are life-long, expensive, and not universally available. No cure or
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Interactions between Hepatitis Delta Virus (HDV) and Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)
Primary supervisor: Mark Douglas
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the leading cause of chronic hepatitis globally, but is also an oncogenic virus, with recent estimates that 53% of all  cases of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the world are HBV-induced. Co-infection or
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Investigating The Role of Mononuclear Phagocytes in Sexual Transmission of HIV
Primary supervisor: Andrew Harman
Research Background: Mononuclear phagocytes (MNP) present in the anogenital tracts are one of the first cells to encounter invading pathogens during sexual intercourse which they detect via C-type lectin receptors (CLR) expressed on their
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Molecular epidemiology of chlamydiosis in koalas in Gunnedah, New South Wales
Primary supervisor: Wieland Meyer
This study will use multilocus sequence typing of chlamydial isolates collected from free-ranging koalas in Gunnedah, New South Wales to investigate the host-pathogen-environment interactions involved in chlamydiosis in this
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The DNA replication stress response
Primary supervisor: Anthony Cesare
This project will focus on how cells respond to difficulties during DNA replication (i.e. DNA replication stress) and the mechanism of cell death DNA replication stress becomes lethal. Genome instability is a hallmark of nearly all solid
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Control of cell differentiation during mouse embryogenesis and stem cell development
Primary supervisor: Patrick Tam
The knowledge of how to maintain, expand and differentiate stem cells is essential for the realisation of clinical cell-based therapy for the replacement and repair of diseased tissues.  Cells of the early embryo are capable of generating
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Head Development: Intersection of transcriptional and signalling activities
Primary supervisor: Patrick Tam
In humans, lethal malformation complexes of the head are associated with varying degrees of anatomical defects of the brain, skull and face structures. Congenital malformations of the brain ranging from reduction in size (microcephaly), abnormal
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Telomere deprotection and cancer
Primary supervisor: Anthony Cesare
Telomeres are the structures at human chromosome ends that regulate cellular aging and tumour suppression. This project will explore how telomeres cooperate with the DNA damage response to control these phenomena. Telomeres are the protective
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How do herpes simplex viruses interact with dendritic cells in human skin: clues for vaccine development
Primary supervisor: Anthony Cunningham
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) can cause cold sores, genital herpes, keratitis, encephalitis and neonatal herpes, as well as increasing the risk of acquiring HIV by at least 3-fold. 70-80% of the Australian population is infected with HSV-1 and 12%
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Influenza Vaccination: Fever, antipyretics and immunogenicity
Primary supervisor: Robert Booy
Professor Robert Booy is head of Clinical Research at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.  He is involved in research on vaccine preventable diseases, be they in infants, children, adults or the elderly. His
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Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine: long term protection against infection and cancer
Primary supervisor: Robert Booy
Australia was the first country to introduce the human papilloma vaccine (HPV) and it has proven very successful in preventing early stages of cervical cancer and other long term complications of HPV.  There are two special
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How does the promising vaccine adjuvant AS01 work in humans?
Primary supervisor: Kerrie Sandgren
Research Background Part of our lab’s research is focused on improving vaccines. A new, recently trialled vaccine for shingles has proven to be highly efficacious, even in older adults (>70 y.o.). We are intrigued to know whether the
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Exploiting skin dendritic cells in vaccination
Primary supervisor: Kerrie Sandgren
Research Background Part of our lab’s research is focused on improving vaccines. Most vaccines today are injected into the muscle, however, in the future we may receive our vaccines in the skin because it has a dense network of immune
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Telomerase: the RNA-protein enzyme that drives cancer immortality
Primary supervisor: Tracy Bryan
Telomerase is the enzyme responsible for lengthening the ends of chromosomes (telomeres), thereby allowing most cancer cells to divide indefinitely.  We are determining the mechanisms of telomerase function using biochemical and cell-based
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Glomerular Podocyte Injury and Repair Mechanisms
Primary supervisor: Yuan Min Wang
Introduction: Podocytes are key cells in the glomerulus for protein filtration. Many diseases of the kidney involve injury to the podocyte. Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis(FSGS) is one of the most common causes of nephrotic syndrome in
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Targeting cancer stem cells to overcome treatment resistance of liver cancer
Primary supervisor: Liang Qiao
Sorafenib is the only drug approved by the US FDA for the treatment of advanced liver cancer. It is a specific adenosine triphosphate–competitive RAF inhibitor with potent inhibitory effect on angiogenesis, an essential process for solid
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Role of Notch signalling in the maintenance of stroma in liver cancer
Primary supervisor: Liang Qiao
Our own study and others have demonstrated that aberrant Notch signalling plays an important role in multiple steps of hepatocarcinogenesis and liver cancer progression. Such so that a bunch of therapeutic drugs targeting abnormal Notch
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Prevalence of antenatal anxiety and its association with postnatal length of stay and maternal-neonatal outcomes
Primary supervisor: Marjan Khajehei
The occurrence of anxiety during pregnancy is more frequent than what was previously thought. Several studies have suggested that the prevalence of anxiety symptoms may be more common during pregnancy than depression and may be higher during
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Investigating the Dynamics of Sexual Transmission of HIV Across the Anorectal Tract
Primary supervisor: Andrew Harman
Since its discovery more than 30 years ago, there is still no cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS. Transmission of HIV via unprotected anal intercourse is 10-100 times more efficient than vaginal intercourse, and is by far the most common mode of HIV
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