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University of Sydney (USYD)

  • 36% international / 64% domestic

Postgraduate Research Scholarship in Intercepting Hepcidin, the Hormone of Iron Metabolism

Key details

Length of Support
6 months full time

About this scholarship

Background:

A unique opportunity is available for an outstanding Masters by Research or PhD scholar to conduct research in the area of iron metabolism.

The anaemia of chronic disease (ACD) is a SEVERE cause of morbidity and mortality in many millions of patients with cancer or inflammatory diseases, and is due to EXCESSIVE levels of the low molecular weight hormone of iron metabolism, Hepcidin. These major diseases induce excessive hepcidin levels which promote tissue iron storage (e.g., in the liver, etc.), preventing its release into the blood. This storage of iron within the liver inhibits its use for red blood cell generation in the marrow, leading to a severe and debilitating anaemia.

We discovered that hepcidin is bound in the blood by the protein, alpha-2-macroglobulin (α2M; Richardson, BLOOD 2009;113:6225; JBC 2013;288:25450). We have developed "hepcidin-null analogues" that have no hormonal activity, but can displace hepcidin from α2M leading to hepcidin excretion via the kidney. This excretion of hepcidin in the urine inhibits its ability to induce iron storage in tissues, preventing the severe anaemia.

This project aims to assess the activity of our lead hepcidin-null analogues using in vitro and in vivo models. We will identify the optimal analogue that leads to hepcidin release from α2M, which will result in urinary excretion of excessive hepcidin induced by chronic disease, thereby curing the anaemia.

Open to:

  1. The Scholarship is offered subject to the applicant having an unconditional offer of admission or being enrolled in full-time studies in a Research Masters or PhD, for full-time study, in the School of Medical Sciences, at the University of Sydney.
  2. Applicants must be willing to undertake research in intercepting hepcidin, the hormone of iron metabolism.
  3. Applicants must also hold an Honours degree (First Class or Second Class upper) or a Master's degree in Science with a substantial research component.
  4. Applicants must also demonstrate scientific research experience.
  5. Applicants must have a background in biochemistry/molecular biology.

Value and Duration:

The Scholarship will provide an annual stipend allowance of $27,082 per annum for up to two years for a successful Masters by Research recipient, and up to three years for a successful PhD recipient, subject to satisfactory academic performance.

A successful PhD recipient may apply for an extension of up to 6 months.

Academic course fees and the Student Services Amenities fee are not provided for a successful international applicant.

Periods of study already undertaken towards the degree prior to the commencement of the Scholarship, will be deducted from the maximum duration of the Scholarship excluding the potential extension period.

Further Information: Terms and Conditions

Application Form:  CLOSED

Eligibility

Eligible Degrees
  • Masters (Coursework)
Gender
  • Female
  • Male
Eligible Study Fields
S
Sciences