PhD Scholarship: Targeting tumour microenvironment for glioblastoma immunotherapy

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Oct 17, 2016
Oct 24, 2016
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

PhD Scholarship: Targeting tumour microenvironment for glioblastoma immunotherapy

The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute

The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute was established in 2007 as the sixth research institute of The University of Queensland. The aim of the Institute is to develop a better understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of disease, and to translate that understanding into practical outcomes for patients. Based at the Translational Research Institute (TRI) at the Princess Alexandra Hospital teaching campus in Brisbane, the Institute has almost 300 researchers and students who work closely with clinicians in the areas of cancer, immunology and genomic medicine. UQDI is the largest partner in TRI, and is building major programs in Immunology, Cancer and Genomic Medicine research, with a particular focus on research aimed at development of new treatments.  Details of the research interests of academic staff may be accessed on the Institute's web site at

The Role

The successful Scholar will pursue a PhD degree in tumour immunology and molecular biotechnologies with a specific emphasis on glioblastoma (GB) and cell-based immunotherapies, by conducting research in the laboratory using a variety of experimental methods and appropriate mouse tumour models in the field of cancer immunotherapies.

The Project

This PhD project will be to conduct research in the field tumour of immunology and cell-based immunotherapies to (i) set-up immunocompetent preclinical mouse models of GB and (ii) to characterize their responses to the novel cancer immunotherapies developed by us. The results of this study will allow us to design novel, more effective combination immunotherapies for the treatment of GB. Effective and long-lasting immune responses are the result of the coordinated activity of different compartments of the immune system. The role of the immune system in the control and progression of tumour growth has been well described and the basis of anti-cancer immunotherapy is to counteract immune evasion of cancer cells by priming, augmenting, or disinhibiting the effector immune response in the tumour microenvironment. The initial successes of immune checkpoint agents demonstrate the power of immunotherapy, but further advances are required to extend the benefits to GB and other poorly immunogenic cancers. We have developed novel strategies targeting critical steps in the induction of effective anti-tumour immune responses. The proposed research seeks to investigate if and how these novel immunotherapies work as single or combination treatments in preclinical models of GB. Moreover, extensive immunoprofiling of murine and human tumour samples will be thoroughly investigated to better understand the dynamic changes occurring within tumour microenvironment along the immunotherapeutic treatments. Several methodologic approaches will be used for this purpose: FACS, ex-vivo and in vivo functional immune assays, multiplex immunohistochemistry and gene expression analysis.

The person will use a mixture of molecular biotechnologies, immunological assays and mouse tumour models to investigate safety, efficacy and feasibility of new immunotherapies for GB.

The Person

The candidate will have a 1st Class Honours, a Masters or an equivalent degree in biomedical science, or similar research field and a strong motivation to pursue a PhD degree. A solid background in tumour immunology as well as neuroscience is required. Relevant laboratory experience, particularly with techniques for ex-vivo immunological assays, FACS analysis, immunohistochemistry and confocal analysis, as well as gene expression analysis, is highly desirable.


The base stipend will be equivalent to APA rate of AUD$ 26,288 (this rate is equivalent to the standard UQ scholarship rate, 2016 rate, indexed annually) per annum for three years with the possibility of a six month extension in approved circumstances, and is subject to the UQ Research Scholarship General Conditions.


For further information about the research project or to discuss this role, please contact Dr Roberta Mazzieri (

To submit an application for this role, use the Apply button below. All applicants must supply the following documents: Cover letter, Resume, and academic records.

For information about entering the UQ PhD program and for the full terms and conditions, please visit the UQ Graduate School website at  Please note that at this stage of the process you do not need to complete the online application for admission form. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by the lead researcher and the successful applicant will be provided with information on how to apply for admission to UQ.

Reference: 499587