PhD scholarship: Genomic analysis of mechanisms of adaptive evolution


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students, International students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Agriculture and Environment, Science and Mathematics
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship, Tuition Scholarship
Scholarship value $28,854 per annum (2022 rate), indexed annually
Scholarship duration 3.5 years with the possibility of 1 extension in line with UQ and RTP Scholarship Policy
Opening date 15 October 2021
Closing date 26 November 2021


Supervisor - Professor Robert Henry

The adaptive value of plant size, genome size and the role of reticulate evolution will be evaluated. The Eucalypts will be used as a model system that has a wide range of plant sizes, variations in genome size and extensive reticulate evolution. The Eucalypts have a well know system of reticulate evolution that results in chloroplast genome capture over significant genetic distances. This project will evaluate the contribution of reticulate evolution to the spread of adaptive nuclear genes in Eucalypts and their evolutionary importance. The impact of reticulate evolution on phylogenetic analysis will be investigated. Two closely related spotted gums for which sequence data is available will be used to determine the genetic basis of sympatric speciation based upon plant size. Evolution of genome size will be explored in Australian plants. The relative contributions of polyploidy, whole genome duplications, gene duplications (e.g. tandem duplications), repetitive element expansions and genome rearrangements will be investigated by comparative genomics of species with widely differing genome sizes. This will be achieved by adding survey sequencing of genomes of divergent size to the available high quality reference genomes. The research will use data from the Bioplatfoms Australia  Genomics of Australian Plants program and the Threatened Species Initiative.

A working knowledge of plant genome analysis would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

Research environment

Prof Henry's specialty research area is the study of agricultural crops using molecular tools. He is particularly interested in Australian flora and plants of economic and social importance and has led the way in research into genome sequencing to capture novel genetic resources for the diversification of food crops to deliver improved food products.

Prof Henry is a Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture which is developing innovative tools and strategies to improve the productivity of plants and their resilience to heat and drought.


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 ‘GENOMIC-HENRYin 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.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field/s of molecular biology and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of plant science and genomics is highly desirable.

Applications are closed.


Professor Robert Henry
+61 7 3346 2445
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.