Scholarship - Koala Health Hub

24 June 2014

The Koala Health Hub at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, is offering one full stipend (standard APA rates) and one top-up scholarship ($5000) to support postgraduate students in PhD studies investigating aspects of koala health.

Applicants should demonstrate:

  • Enrolment, or eligibility for enrolment in PhD studies in the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney;
  • a commitment to a long-term career in wildlife health;
  • an understanding of issues associated with wildlife, and particularly koala, care and conservation in Australia;
  • the ability to engage enthusiastically with koala care groups and spend significant periods of time at koala care facilities, collecting samples and transferring expertise to, and from, koala carers.

The proposed project should:

  • involve collection of samples or data from koalas in care;
  • contribute knowledge beneficial to the health and welfare of koalas in care or in the wild (by disease diagnosis, treatment, or prevention via improved koala or habitat management);

In keeping with the aims of the Koala Health Hub, projects that involve multidisciplinary collaboration across academic and community groups will be viewed favourably.

Applications should address the above criteria and should be accompanied by a project proposal.
Please forward applications or enquiries to:
Dr Damien Higgins,
Closing Date: 18 July 2014

The Koala Health Hub (KHH) is a new initiative founded on the generosity of public donations to the Koala Park Sanctuary fund for the treatment and research of koala disease. The Koala Health Hub delivers free, high quality diagnostics and expertise for the benefit and support of koala care groups and associated veterinarians involved with the health of koalas in care and in the wild. It also supports high quality therapeutic care to koalas from the Sydney region via the Faculty's Wildlife Clinic at Camden, and supports the training of future koala veterinarians, researchers and carers through research scholarships and training workshops. Services and expertise are based on the research into koala diseases that has been part of the work of the Veterinary Faculty of the University for more than 35 years and is ongoing in the Koala Infectious Diseases Research Group (KIDReG). In addition to the Koala Health Hub, our Faculty has a strong history of wildlife research in a range of disciplines and species. The Faculty's Veterinary Pathology Diagnostic Services (VPDS) are donating their record keeping database, and some additional pathology expertise, infrastructure and services to this project.

Examples of diagnostics offered through the KHH include:

  • Chlamydia detection by real-time PCR - to test eye and urogenital swabs of patients on admission and prior to release.
  • Cryptococcal detection on nasal swabs + cryptococcal antigen testing.
  • General haematology and biochemistry to assist diagnosis and case management.
  • A necropsy service, or examination of tissues from necropsies, which is provided at no cost by VPDS as part of its pathology resident program.

Expertise and advise is available free of charge to all koala care, management and research groups. Priorities are guided by an advisory committee, including independent representatives from the koala care and wildlife health communities.

Contact: Dr Damien Higgins

Email: 4f191e0023057c582a03023f072b19071b05371d287f2b2a377b4e00