PhD scholarship - Understanding how macrophage sensing of RNA virus infection drives inflammation.


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 $28,092 per annum (2020 rate), indexed annually
Scholarship duration Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions
Opening date 29 July 2020
Closing date 12 August 2020


Influenza and SARS-CoV-2 are RNA viruses that can cause severe disease. Inflammation is a host defence mechanism, but in excess can drive disease. Host cells express receptors to detect virus infection, as well as innate defences called 'restriction factors'. In this project you will investigate how macrophages and epithelial cells sense these viruses, by determining which receptors and restriction factors are engaged, and how this determines the overall inflammatory response. This project will allow us to understand the molecular mechanisms by which these viruses can cause massive inflammatory damage, and identify new drug targets. By understanding how these viruses trigger inflammation, we can develop new ways to suppress damaging inflammation without compromising anti-viral defence, which is key to fighting diseases like COVID-19.

This project will involve work with primary macrophages and epithelial cells and cell lines, basic molecular biology (cloning, RNA extraction and qPCR, western blotting), confocal microscopy, and immunological techniques (ELISA, flow cytometry). Additionally it will involve extensive work with influenza A virus and subtypes.

A working knowledge of innate immunity and virology would be of benefit to someone working on this project.


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 ‘RNA VIRUSin 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 Microbiology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of Innate Immunity Virology is highly desirable.

Applications are closed.


Dr Larisa Labzin
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.