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MPhil scholarship: Imaging metabolic pathways in the brain using magnetic resonance spectroscopy

Enrolment status
Future UQ student
Student type
Domestic, International
Study level
Postgraduate research (HDR)
Study area
Science and Mathematics
Scholarship focus
Academic excellence
Funding type
Living stipend, Tuition fees
Scholarship value
$34,627 per annum (2022 rate), indexed annually
Scholarship duration
Two years (24 months)
Number awarded
May vary
Applications open
14 January 2022
Applications close
14 February 2022

About this scholarship

Supervisor: Professor David Reutens

Methodologies for studying in vivo metabolic pathways in the brain have the potential to significantly improve diagnosis and treatment of multiple conditions including metastatic brain cancer, neurodegenerative disease or traumatic brain injury.  13C magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging has shown significant potential for the non-invasive imaging of key metabolites in the brain. However, the technique is limited by the low natural abundance of 13C (~1%), which results in poor signal intensities.  Labelling metabolites with 13C can artificially increase this signal by 100 times, although the signal intensity remains low due to degrees of nuclear polarisation that are achieved at typical imaging field strengths.

Dissolution dynamic nuclear polarisation (dissolution DNP) is a new technology that can improve the MRI signal by >74000 fold.  This increased signal allows real time in vivo imaging and quantification of metabolic rate of glucose, lactate, glutamate, etc, as biomarkers of diseases.

This project will undertake studies of pyruvate metabolism in a model of metastatic brain cancer in collaboration with Professor Ardenkjaer-Larsen, the inventor of dissolution DNP at the Technical University Denmark (DTU) and Professor Reutens, Professor Thurecht and Associate Professor Blakey from UQ. Successful students will have the opportunity to undertake internships with our industry partners.

Research environment

The scholarship is offered through the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Innovation in Biomedical Imaging Technology (CIBIT), a multidisciplinary collaboration between researchers at The University of Queensland and medical technology and pharmaceutical industry partners.

CIBIT is based at The Centre for Advanced Imaging (CAI), a strategic initiative of The University of Queensland, which is a leading imaging research facility in Australia, and one of a handful in the world. The CAI brings together the skills of a critical mass of researchers and state-of-the-art, world- or Australian-first imaging research instruments including NMR, EPR, MRI, PET, CT, optical and an on-site cyclotron and radiochemistry facilities. CAI hosts the largest Node of the National Imaging Facility (NIF).

CAI conducts research across the spectrum from development of new imaging technologies, analysis of molecular structure, synthesis of MRI and PET biomarkers targeting fundamental biological processes to studies of major diseases affecting a range of organ systems, through to imaging economically significant agricultural animals and plant material, minerals and construction materials.

CAI is committed to supporting the career growth of female researchers and have a number of initiatives to support females in developing and achieving a fulfilling research career at the institute. For more information, please visit our CAI Women in Imaging website.


You're eligible if you meet the entry requirements for a higher degree by research.

How to apply

Before submitting an application you should:

You apply for this scholarship when you submit an application for a Master of Philosophy (MPhil). You don't need to submit a separate scholarship application.

When you apply, please ensure that under the scholarships and collaborative study section you:

  1. Select ‘My higher degree is not collaborative’
  2. Select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'.
  3. Select ‘Other’, then ‘Research Project Scholarship’ and type in ‘IMAGING-REUTENS’ in the 'Name of scholarship' field.

The information you provide in your application is collected for the purposes of (1) assessing your eligibility for this scholarship, (2) selecting scholarship recipients, and (3) administration of the scholarship. The University of Queensland will disclose the information you provide to CIBIT for the stated purposes. The University will not otherwise disclose the information to a third party without your consent, unless such disclosure is authorised or required by law.  For further information, please refer to the University’s Privacy Management Policy.

Selection criteria

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the your:

  • previous academic record,
  • publication record,
  • honours and awards, and
  • employment history.

You will demonstrate academic achievement in the field/s of physical sciences, including disciplines such as biomedical engineering, engineering, information technology, physics and mathematics or a related field and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of analytical and computational skills, including working with equations, simulations and computer programs and an interest in imaging modalities and healthcare IT solutions is highly desirable.


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.


Professor David Reutens