[Coral-List] PhD scholarship fluorescent corals

Anya Salih A.Salih at westernsydney.edu.au
Thu Apr 4 00:07:01 UTC 2019

Colleagues, please distribute to students who may be interested.



Fluorescence is a prominent trait of Great Barrier Reef corals, colouring their tissues with a variety of proteins of the GFP (green fluorescent protein) family. Their function is still poorly understood although they are known to modulate light of  coral tissues to optimise photosynthesis of symbionts. The expression of GFP-type protein genes varies across coral populations, life-history stages, and is strongly regulated in response to environmental perturbations, such as seawater warming.

Supervised by Dr Alexie Papanicolaou and Dr Anya Salih, this project will use molecular, genomic, optical and experimental methods to investigate the function of GFP-type proteins in corals by exploring their gene expression in response to environmental variables. Genomic techniques will be applied to various aspects of fluorescent protein study - sequence, structure and evolution to interpret their function.

The successful candidate will have their own scholarship and be able to direct their studies. Training will be provided in a range of optical technique (fluorescence wide-field and confocal imaging, spectroscopic analysis) with field-work conducted at the Great Barrier Reef Heron Island Research station. The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) is a research-intensive institute within the Western Sydney University with a focus on climate adaptation and agricultural research. Our research has been graded the top grade of 5* in the national ARC-ERA assessments. The HIE houses a team of over 50 researchers and over 80 PhD students with access to a unique suite of world-class research facilities (https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/hie).


» Domestic candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs, supported by the Research Training Program Fee Offset.

» International candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs. Those with a strong track record will be eligible for a tuition fee waiver for up to 3.5 years. International candidates are required to hold an Overseas Student Health Care (OSHC) insurance policy for the duration their study in Australia. This and other immigration costs are not covered by the scholarship, the candidates can fund it through their stipend.

» The project would fund all relevant operating costs & travel.


We welcome applicants from any country with a strong background in coral reef biology, microscopy, or genomics. The successful applicant should:

» have good communication skills, be creative, and have a commitment in developing their research skills further

» hold qualifications and experience equal to one of: an Australian First Class Bachelor (Honours) degree or equivalent overseas qualification, coursework Masters with at least 25% research, Research Masters (M. Res. or M. Phil.)

» have conducted at least 9 months of research project work as evidenced by relevant employment, or a research-intensive degree (e.g. in Honours, Masters in Research, M. Phil), or peer-reviewed publications in a recognised journal

» international applicants must demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the English language

» We are an equal opportunities employer and encourage scientists from under-represented groups to apply


1. By the 12th of April 2019, applicants should email a CV including contact details of two research-related referees to Anya Salih to discuss the opportunity and alignment (A.Salih at westernsydney.edu.au).

2. The best applicant will be supported to produce a full application form with a one-page research proposal by the 1st of May 2019. Outcomes are advised by the 21st of June 2019.

This advert is also available from: http://tiny.cc/coral_reef_phd_hie.



Dr Anya Salih| Senior Research Fellow &
Confocal Facility Manager
Confocal Bio-Imaging Facility | Building S8
Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)|
Western Sydney University | Locked Bag 1797 |
Penrith South DC | NSW 1797 Australia
P: +61 45 70 1452 | M: 0468 387 110| A.Salih at westernsydney.edu.au

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