PhD scholarship: Design and development of effective peptide-based therapeutics


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Medicine, Science and Mathematics
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship
Scholarship value $28,597 per annum (2021 rate), indexed annually
Scholarship duration Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances
Opening date 28 October 2020
Closing date 18 December 2020


The study of endogenous human peptide hormones and bioactive peptides from natural sources have led to the realisation that they have huge potential as treatments for a broad range of human diseases. They occupy a unique molecular niche between small molecule drugs and therapeutic antibodies and are typically characterised by high potency and specificity for their target receptors and relatively low toxicity. Despite their advantages, there are still several hurdles that need to be overcome before these promising drug leads fulfil their vast potential. The three key disadvantages of peptides as drugs is that they are readily broken down by proteases, rapidly cleared from the body by kidney filtration and have low oral bioavailability.

We have developed a molecular tag that when attached to a peptide can overcome all these hurdles and the overall goal of this project is to understand how this molecular tag facilitates these improvements in oral bioavailability and half-life, and to investigate its general utility for inferring such characteristics in a wide range of peptide drug leads specifically targeting unmet clinical needs.

Research environment

The Peptide Chemical Biology Lab at the School of Biomedical Sciences, UQ is led by Dr Richard Clark and is interested in studying the role of naturally occurring bioactive peptides in a broad range of human diseases. Peptides have a diverse range of functions in human biology including acting as hormones, neuro-regulators and in the protection against pathogens. Our work in this area is focused on understanding the molecular mechanism that these peptide use to elicit a biological response with the hope of using this knowledge to develop new drug leads. For more information about our lab can be accessed at the School of Biomedical Sciences website.

The University of Queensland School of Biomedical Sciences is a distinguished centre for teaching and research in the academic disciplines of Anatomy, Developmental Biology, Physiology, Pharmacology and Pathology. The School has more than 40 full-time research and teaching staff and is one of the largest Schools of its type in Australia. It has links to other prestigious research centres on the St Lucia campus including the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), the Institute of Molecular Bioscience (IMB) and the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN). Our diverse research provides an exciting environment for national and international research fellows and higher degree students. It is concerned with advancing the understanding of how cellular mechanisms contribute to the function of the human body in health and disease. Details of the research interests of academic staff may be accessed on the school’s website.


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

Applications are closed.

Before you get started

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them.

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow the link on the upper right of this page. There is no separate application for scholarship because you will have the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Before submitting an application you should:

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 ‘CLARK PEPTIDEin the 'Name of scholarship' field.

See an example of what you have to do

Learn more about applying for a higher degree by research at UQ

Selection criteria

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of peptide or organic chemistry, or pharmacology would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field/s of chemistry, pharmacology or drug design and development and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of peptide chemistry or molecular pharmacology is highly desirable.

Applications are closed.


Dr Richard Clark
+61 7 3365 1527
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.