Project into the ‘secret life’ of koala blood


My pharmacology laboratory is the only site in Australia conducting essential research on the pharmacology of medicines in Australian marsupials in order to develop the correct medicine dosages for these species.   My research is recognized globally for its innovation, development of assays to determine the concentrations of medicines in blood and tissues of animals, development of in-vitro models of drug metabolism and studies to optimize the dosages of antibiotics and analgesics and other medicines for koalas and other marsupials. My research publications are listed at and I provide regular updates on my research at   As a researcher in my laboratory you will develop analytical skills and critical thinking skills that are in demand by pharmacology research laboratories and medical research laboratories and pharmaceutical companies


Associate Professor Merran Govendir

Research Location

Sydney School of Veterinary Science

Program Type



Following on the from previous successful PhD projects in this area, this project will investigate  the intrinsic activity of the blood of those marsupials that eat eucalyptus leaves and includes the koala, common brush-tailed possum and common ring-tailed possum. This project is interested in quantifying any antimicrobial and analgesic activity in the blood of these species. What is learnt about the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of the blood of these species could be useful for novel medicine development for other species. To deliver this project you will learn a wide range of valuable pharmacology based skills that include development and validation of medicine assays and enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), antimicrobial susceptibility testing and develop and validate cell culture assays.   

Additional Information

This project is available to applicants with a good honours degree in the biological sciences or with equivalent experience. An interest in pharmacology is important, but previous experience in pharmacology is desirable but not essential. To be eligible for a university stipend to support your candidature you will need a first class honours degree or equivalent. You will be expected to be a self-starter, enjoy critical thinking and be proficient in written English to a reasonably high standard as examination of your candidature is by submission of a written thesis.  Additional supervisor Dr Benjamin Kimble

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veterinary, Pharmacology, Koala, medicine, wildlife

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 2235

Other opportunities with Associate Professor Merran Govendir