Regulation of liver physiology by the circadian and feeding rhythms - PhD scholarship

Summary

Enrolment status New students, Currently enrolled students
Student type Domestic students, International students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Health and Behavioural Sciences, Medicine, Science and Mathematics
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship
Scholarship value $27,596 per annum tax-free (2019 rate), indexed annually.
Scholarship duration Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances.
Opening date 29 July 2019
Closing date 31 August 2019

Scholarship description

The liver plays an essential role in many aspects of animal physiology. It has an important function in lipid, carbohydrate, and xenobiotic metabolism. Furthermore, the liver is also a secretory organ that synthesizes bile acids and most of the proteins of the blood, such as albumin, coagulation factors, and complement proteins involved in the immune response. All of these functions do not occur at the same time. Instead, rhythmic liver metabolism is regulated by the circadian clock, an evolutionarily acquired gene network that synchronizes physiology to the environmental changes caused by succession of day and night.

As a consequence of the crucial role of circadian rhythms in physiology, their disruption leads to numerous metabolic and neurological pathologies. There is an increasing incidence of metabolic disorders caused by disrupted circadian rhythms, for example due to increasing shift work and other changing sleep and feeding patterns. There is a therefore a pressing need to better understand the physiological mechanisms that underpin such rhythmic metabolic changes, and the consequences of their disturbance.

Our research has shown that in mice the liver can be up to 30% larger during the night when these animals are active, than during the day. However, this phenomenon occurs only when feeding rhythm is synchronized with the active phase. This observation suggests that a signal occurring during the day opposes the effect of feeding. Nevertheless, the factors contributing to daily liver size fluctuation are still poorly understood. The goal of this project is the characterization of the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of rhythmic liver size, in particular through the regulation of protein secretion, and its impact on animal metabolism.

Eligibility

To be eligible, you must meet the entry requirements for a higher degree by research.

Before you apply

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them before applying.

How to apply

To be considered for this scholarship, please email the following documents to

Associate Professor Frederic Gachon (f.gachon@uq.edu.au)

  • Cover letter
  • CV
  • Academic transcript/s

Please note the following: Submitting the above documents does not constitute a full application for admission into The University of Queensland's PhD program. If you are selected as the preferred applicant, you will then be invited to submit a full application for admission. You can familiarise yourself with the documents required for this process on the Graduate School's website.

Selection criteria

Applicants should have the following:

  • Master degree in biological science
  • Experience in animal and cell biology
  • Knowledge in biochemistry and molecular biology

Contact

Associate Professor Frederic Gachon
0428 579 696

Terms and conditions

Read the policy on UQ Research Scholarships.

A domestic part-time student with carer’s responsibilities, a medical condition or a disability, which prevents them from studying full time may be eligible for scholarship consideration, on a case by case basis.