Circuit, Cellular and Synaptic Mechanisms of Nucleus Accumbens Deep Brain Stimulation - PhD Scholarship


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students, International students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Medicine
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship
Scholarship value $28,092 per annum tax-free (2020 rate), indexed annually
Scholarship duration Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances
Opening date 22 October 2019
Closing date 6 November 2019

Scholarship description

The nucleus accumbens (NAc) is a common deep brain stimulation (DBS) target used to treat a diverse range of psychiatric disorders, including obsessive compulsive disorder, addiction, depression, Tourette’s syndrome, and chronic pain. Why the NAc is an effective target across diverse treatment-refractory disorders is not clear. The NAc is rich in dopamine terminals, and dopamine signalling in this region plays an important role in the integration of stress- and reward-related information to regulate the expression of incentive-motivation behaviours. As part of this, NAc dopamine serves as a neuromodulator, effectively gating information flow from cortical and limbic inputs to determine which successfully activates post-synaptic outputs. The location and function of the NAc mean that NAc dopamine is strategically positioned to modulate overall mesocorticolimbic network function. Despite its clinical potential, the effects of NAc DBS on NAc dopamine neurotransmission have not yet been systematically explored. The proposed study is designed to test the central hypothesis that NAc DBS disinhibits midbrain dopamine cells to increase dopamine neurotransmission, and that this is necessary for its behavioural effects. Specifically, we will demonstrate NAc DBS increases phasic NAc dopamine, stress coping and motivated behaviour. We will then identify the cell and receptor mechanisms mediating NAc DBS effects on NAc dopamine and demonstrate that facilitation of NAc dopamine neurotransmission is essential for the behavioural effects of NAc DBS. This investigation will establish the direct effects of NAc DBS on NAc dopamine and NAc dopamine-dependent behaviour, providing an essential foundation for future studies aimed at target optimisation and development of closed-loop feedback technologies.


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

Applications are closed.

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 Dr Susannah Tye (

  • Cover letter
  • CV
  • Academic transcript/s

Selection criteria

Prior research experience in psychology and neuroscience.

Animal behaviour experience would be an advantage.

Applications are closed.


Dr Susannah Tye
Applications are closed.

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.

Applications are closed.