At the Future Industries Institute we offer a research environment with highly experienced and engaged supervisors, extensive connections to industry, government and communities, and a focus on addressing globally significant issues. You can undertake research in a variety of ways – through a PhD, Masters by Research, or a Professional Doctorate. UniSA is committed to ensuring that research degree candidates experience excellent and contemporary research training and that they graduate with a skill set that improves their employment prospects.

We encourage you to connect with our researchers and explore the possibilities for continuing your pathway into research. Below are details of Scholarships currently available.

Biopharma Industry-based PhD Projects for 2021
"Advancing Protein Therapeutic Development"

About these projects

The use of monoclonal antibodies and recombinant versions of proteins as therapeutics, referred to as biologics, has changed the pharmaceutical landscape. It is anticipated that more than 70% of new drug approvals will be biologics by 2025, with seven of the ten best-selling treatments being protein based. The growth in protein-based therapies requires cutting-edge analytical tools to ensure the final product is of high quality, safe, and effective. 

Project 1: Streamlined high-throughput analytical automation to support downstream process development and characterization studies

Objectives: Utilise novel and emerging at-line/on-line technologies to maximise sample throughput to provide comprehensive data set and faster assay turnaround to facilitate rapid downstream process development decision making.

Anticipated outcomes: A fully integrated automation stack with at-line/on-line analytics (e.g. protein concentration, impurities, aggregates, truncation, and charge variants) for high-throughput downstream purification screening support. Current CSL analytical throughput is not able to support design of experiment (DOE) type of downstream process development using robo-columns. This project will assess emerging new technologies that is able to deliver robust high-throughput analytical methods, for instance, ion mobility mass spectrometry (MS), chip-based impurity screening, size exclusion, dynamic light scattering, etc. The chosen analytical method will be inter-connected with Tecan robo-column by a mobile mechanic arm for at-line analysis. The developed automation platform will be of significant interest to all biopharma companies for rapid screening of different purification conditions, streamlining the Purification Process Development allowing the team to make informed forward processing decisions.

Project 2: PAT Spectroscopic and MS techniques for high throughput product characterisation for recombinant protein products

Objectives: Develop and establish a suitable process analytical toolbox (PAT) based on a combination of High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), spectroscopy and mass spectrometry (MS)- based monitoring of critical quality attributes (CQAs) in order to drive process development for recombinant protein products.

Anticipated outcomes: From a regulatory standpoint it is important to assure that pharmaceutical processes are always controlled to ensure the therapeutic achieves a defined quality level. In biopharma, PAT has been recommended by the FDA since 2004 to manage production by monitoring and controlling processes to ensure a high-quality final product. PAT typically combines HPLC and spectroscopy data with chemometric analyses to obtain and analyse relevant information of the process and product quality, such as monitoring CQAs. By using PAT, critical decisions and process adjustments can be made in (near) real-time. The project will establish a high throughput and PAT suitable toolbox based on a combination of UV/Vis absorption, FTIR, MS and Raman spectroscopy for characterisation of CQAs. The approach will be specific for recombinantly expressed protein products, focusing on adoption of MS strategies, such as liquid chromatography (LC) coupled to high-resolution MS for monitoring quality attributes during production. Integration of MS data as part of a PAT requires a dedicated effort to ensure output is compiled in a way that can be incorporated and assessed in conjunction with other analytical strategies. High quality spectroscopic and MS data will be generated using potential therapeutic candidates provided by CSL. Mechanistic models developed from the analytical approaches used will support the learning process of artificial neural networks (ANNs), to generate hybrid or meta-models for simplification of root cause investigations and improve process understanding. The project builds on expertise of Professor Hubbuch for PAT development, UniSA for spectroscopy, MS, and data analytics, and CSL for implementation to support recombinant protein products.

Project 3: PAT Spectroscopic and MS techniques for high throughput product characterisation for plasma derived products

Objectives: Develop and establish a suitable process analytical toolbox (PAT) based on a combination of High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), spectroscopy and mass spectrometry (MS)- based monitoring of critical quality attributes (CQAs) in order to drive process development for plasma-derived protein products.

Anticipated outcomes: The project will establish a high throughput and PAT suitable toolbox based on a combination of UV/Vis absorption, FTIR, MS and Raman spectroscopy for characterisation of CQAs for plasma derived protein products. The approach will be specific for plasm-derived products, focusing on adoption of MS strategies, such as liquid chromatography (LC) Multiple Reaction Monitoring (MRM) MS quantitation strategy of proteins in human plasma fractions, to monitor plasma fractionation process performance. This integrated PAT approach will replace conventional biochemical approaches for targeted protein quantitation of plasma fractions. The data compiled from the mechanistic models developed from the analytical approaches used will support the learning process of artificial neural networks (ANNs), to generate hybrid or meta-models for simplification of root cause investigations and improve process understanding. The project builds on expertise of Professor Hubbuch for PAT development, UniSA for spectroscopy, MS, and data analytics, and CSL for implementation to support plasma-derived protein products.

Project 4: Pushing the boundaries of high-throughput quantification by mass-spectrometry in tissue

Analytical measurements of any kind should be sensitive, fast, accurate and reproducible. To achieve the most sensitive measurement, lengthy sample preparation and complex analysis might be necessary. Both are not compatible with high throughput applications. Although Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) Time OF Flight (TOF)-Mass Spectrometry (MS) can acquire data as fast as 10 ms/sample, it is currently underperforming as a high-throughput technology. Additionally, you can use MALDI TOF-MS as well as MALDI Quadrupole (Q) TOF-MS for Mass Spectrometry Imaging (MSI) where intensities of molecules are measured with spatial resolution and intensity maps/images can be created with the long-term aim of absolute quantification. To develop this enabling technology of MALDI MS and MSI, innovative sample preparation protocols, matrixes and data analysis will be developed, which will disrupt the current status quo. This project will have a transformative impact on multiple research areas, such as monitoring of drug candidates for the pharmaceutical industry, mapping and quantifying environmental exposures to humans, plants and animals and quantifying small molecules/metabolites in tissue.

The successful applicant will apply the developed high throughput MALDI MS and MALDI MSI technology to cancer tissue treated with therapeutic candidates to monitor distribution in the tissue. The approach will have applications for monitoring multiple analytes across tissue, such as for use in pharmaceutical and/ot environmental contaminant monitoring for human, mouse or plant tissues.

Eligibility

Domestic students are welcome to apply.
Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements for a research degree program at the University of South Australia.

How to apply and closing date

Research Training Program domestic (RTPd) Scholarship

Applications now open until 31 October.
All applications and supporting evidence must be submitted by 31 October.
Please apply early to allow us time to review your application and request any additional information required.

Apply online HERE

Please reference Supervisor: Professor Peter Hoffmann and your chosen project in your application. If you have any specific questions about the project(s) please email Professor Peter Hoffmann Peter.Hoffmann@unisa.edu.au or Dr Mark Condina Mark.Condina@unisa.edu.au


 

Research Scholarship for SEAM Training Centre

About this scholarship

A post-graduate scholarship is available to study with the newly launched training centre in Surface Engineering for Advanced Materials (SEAM). The project will investigate the development of laser clad and 3D printed coatings, or other potential application technologies, for large pipeline infrastructure. The coatings will be designed to resist microbially induced corrosion. The project will include coating design, investigation of process parameters, measurement of properties as well as the study of interface behaviour by advanced electron microscopy. Applications from students wishing to study a Masters or PhD degree are welcomed, and researchers with a background in either Science or Engineering are encouraged to apply.

Other opportunities within the Institute in fields such as flexible electronics and nano-structured coatings are available for the right candidate and enquiries from prospective students are welcomed.

Value

$32,304 per year for 3.5 years

Eligibility

This scholarship is open to Australian and NZ citizens, and permanent residents of Australia.
Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements for a research degree program at the University of South Australia.

How to apply and closing date

Application closing date: 30 December 2020

In the first instance, submit your application to nikki.stanford@unisa.edu.au. Following the initial endorsement by the relevant supervisor, you will be required to go through the UniSA online application process.

Phone: 08 8302 3631
Apply online


 

Plasma Physics Scholarship

About this scholarship

We are seeking a motivated student to undertake an exciting Australian Research Council funded PhD project entitled “Plasma touches life: advancing plasma technologies for the life sciences”. The student will have opportunity to develop and test their own research initiatives in the application of electrical cold atmospheric plasma technology for wound decontamination and cancer treatments, with focus on developing novel strategies to improve the efficacy and safety of the plasma treatments. In order to undertake this project successfully, the student will need to have a strong background in electrical engineering and physics. Prior experience in electrical and optical plasma diagnostics will be viewed favourably.

The student will be primarily based at the University of South Australia, Future Industries Institute (FII). The FII provides world-class research facilities including a plasma research laboratory equipped with a range of plasma sources and plasma diagnostics, and PC2 laboratories including cell culture suites and a range of molecular biology and histology facilities, and high-resolution microscopy.

As part of the training package, the student will also have opportunity to undertake part of their research at Osaka City University in the UK for 6 months, investigating plasma-tissue interactions with advanced analytical techniques including time-resolved ICCD imaging, electron spin resonance spectroscopy, atmospheric-pressure molecular beam mass spectrometry and Schlieren imaging.

Study Areas : Plasma physics, plasma engineering, plasma diagnostics, UV-vis spectroscopy, measurement of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in the plasma phase and liquid phase.

Eligibility

-Commencing candidates
-Domestic and international students
-Applicants must meet the entry criteria for the award of a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of South Australia

Value

$28,092 (2020 rate) for 3 years

How to apply and closing date

The scholarship will remain open until filled.

In the first instance, interested applicants should send their CV, brief (maximum one page) supporting statement and 3 referees to Dr Endre Szili at endre.szili@unisa.edu.au and following the initial endorsement by the supervisor, applicants will go through the UniSA online application process.

Apply online


 

Plasma Touches Life Scholarship

About this scholarship

We are seeking a motivated student to undertake an exciting Australian Research Council funded PhD project entitled “Plasma touches life: advancing plasma technologies for the life sciences”. The student will have opportunity to develop and test their own research initiatives in the application of electrical cold atmospheric plasma technology for wound decontamination and cancer treatments, with focus on developing novel strategies to improve the efficacy and safety of the plasma treatments. In order to undertake this project successfully, the student will need to have a strong background in mammalian and bacteria cell culture techniques and molecular biology.

The student will be primarily based at the University of South Australia, Future Industries Institute (FII), but will also work regularly at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) throughout the project. The FII and CSIRO provide world-class research facilities including a plasma research laboratory equipped with a range of plasma sources and plasma diagnostics, and PC2 laboratories including cell culture suites and a range of molecular biology and histology facilities, and high-resolution microscopy.

As part of the training package, the student will also have opportunity to undertake part of their research at Lancaster University in the UK for 6 months, investigating how plasma treatments influence DNA replication, damage and repair in Xenopus egg extract models.

Study areas: General molecular and cellular biology, tissue culture (mammalian and bacteria), microscopy, immunohistochemistry

Eligibility

-Commencing candidates
-Domestic and international students
-Applicants must meet the entry criteria for the award of a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of South Australia

Value

$28,092 (2020 rate) for 3.5 years

How to apply and closing date

The scholarship will remain open until filled.

In the first instance, interested applicants should send their CV, brief (maximum one page) supporting statement and 3 referees to Dr Endre Szili at endre.szili@unisa.edu.au and following the initial endorsement by the supervisor, applicants will go through the UniSA online application process.

Apply online