Student Projects

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Mosquito genomics for better control of mosquito-borne diseases

Projects can be adapted to suit Honours, Masters and PhD level students New technologies to control mosquitoes and diseases they transmit are developing rapidly – from the natural pathogen-blocking symbiotic bacteria to the engineered “selfish genes”. In creating and assessing new mosquito control technologies, we take the approach “from the field – to the lab – […]

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Development of new bi-functional antibodies for the treatment of Head and Neck Squamous Carcinoma (HNSCC)

This project is flexible for Honours students, Masters students or Medical/clinical students. Head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) is the eighth most common cancer diagnosed in Australia, with over 1000 deaths from advanced disease each year. For survivors, toxicity related to treatment of primary and nodal spread in the mouth and/or neck (surgery, radiotherapy, […]

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Enhancing the efficacy of conventional immunotherapies

Some components of this project are suitable for Honours students, flexible for Medical/clinical students and entire project is suitable for PhD students. Members of the Translational Cancer Discovery Group were involved in the original development of denosumab, a monoclonal antibody against RANKL, which is now approved worldwide for the treatment of bone metastasis and multiple […]

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Discovering novel immunoregulatory molecules underlying the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus

The lab studies the immunobiology of B-lymphocytes particularly the B cell survival factors BAFF and APRIL and their receptors BAFF-R, TACI and BCMA. Professor Mackay has shown that excess BAFF leads to autoimmunity in mice and is associated with human autoimmunity, in particular systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). BAFF receptor TACI is highly expressed on memory […]

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Investigating blood-brain barrier mediated drug delivery in neurodegenerative diseases

PhD project but may also be considered for Honours project The blood-brain barrier (BBB) lines the walls of brain microvessels, and is critical in preventing the entry of toxic molecules into the brain and enhancing the uptake of nutrients. The BBB is formed by brain endothelial cells (BECs), pericytes and neural cells (neurons and astrocytes) […]

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3D Alzheimer’s disease ‘brain on a chip’

PhD project but may also be considered for an Honours project Alzheimer’s dementia is a rapidly growing health issue for Australia and worldwide with an expected 136 million cases by 2050. The disease is characterized by accumulation of amyloid peptide and phosphorylated tau microtubule protein in the brain, together with an abnormal inflammatory response and […]

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Generating Alzheimer’s microglia for testing patient responses to immune-modulating compounds

Alzheimer’s disease is anticipated to affect 100 million patients with an annual cost of US$1 trillion by 2050. Promising amyloid-clearing therapies have failed to translate to clinical outcomes, and new approaches targeting the underlying molecular pathways of Alzheimer’s disease are urgently required. There has been a ‘re-awakening’ to the critical role of microglia in Alzheimer’s […]

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Olfactory stem cells for investigating the causes and progression of dementia

Background: With no clinical success yet achieved from amyloid-targeting strategies, there is an urgent need to gain new insights and develop effective treatments for people who have dementia. New stem cell-based approaches have generated much ex-citement in dementia research with the potential to study patient-derived neurons and supporting cells. However the commonly used ‘pluripotent’ stem […]

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Development of metal-based therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases

PhD project but may also be considered for an Honours project Biological trace elements, also known as trace minerals, or biometals include copper, zinc, iron, selenium and manganese. These and other biometals have essential roles in many areas of brain function including energy metabolism, transcription factor activity, antioxidant regulation and synaptic signalling. During ageing and […]

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