First listed on: 20 January 2022

Scholarship in AAV based Gene Therapies for Neurological Disorders

  • $140,000 scholarship for a PhD student in the Faculty of Medicine and Health (University of Sydney) to undertake research into AAV based gene therapies for neurological disorders.
  • Work with one of Australia’s most respected national and independent medical research institutes
  • Located in Westmead, one of Sydney’s and Australia’s major biomedical research hubs

A PhD scholarship is offered, for a student to work on the project: Development, optimisation and manufacturing of novel bespoke technologies for AAV-based gene therapies for neurological disorders.

This PhD project aims to develop safe, practical, and affordable gene therapy treatment options focused on patients suffering from debilitating neurological conditions, such as motor neuron disease. Furthermore, this project seeks to improve the manufacturing process of the bioengineered vehicles of gene therapy (termed 'vectors') through the development of novel bespoke manufacturing technologies. The vectors used in this project will be recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV), the current vector of choice for gene delivery. The goal of this project is to improve personalised gene therapy treatments to result in readily accessible, affordable, and ready for use in clinical practice. As this project will be primarily based at the Westmead Precinct, the PhD candidate will have access to the cutting-edge technology and expertise present at this world-class facility. Throughout this project, they will be able to master a range of sought-after skills in viral vector design, manipulation of the AAV genome, vector manufacturing, and bioinformatic analysis, providing them with highly sought-after specialised skills.

Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) is an award-winning state-of-the-art medical research facility, with over 100 full-time scientists dedicated to researching the genes and proteins important for health and human development. CMRI is located at Westmead, a major hub for research and medicine in NSW, and is affiliated with the University of Sydney. We are easy to access by public transport.


This scholarship is valued at $40,000 per annum and is tenable for up to 3.5 years.

Who's eligible

You must: 

  • be an Australian Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or hold an appropriate visa that provides residency status and the right to work in Australia until the later of the 30 August 2023 or the projected conclusion of your PhD candidature
  • be willing to apply for admission, applied for admission, have a conditional or unconditional offer of admission to commence or be currently enrolled in a full-time PhD within the Faculty of Medicine and Health
  • conduct research into the development, optimisation and manufacturing of novel bespoke technologies for AAV-based gene therapies for neurological disorders.
  • be able to demonstrate you hold an undergraduate degree with at least a credit average or equivalent and have either:
    • research experience through an honours program (First Class or Second Class, Division I), or
    • a Masters Degree by Research in a relevant subject.

Preference will be given to applicants who can demonstrate they have experience in one or more of the following: 

  • molecular cloning
  • tissue culture
  • animal handling
  • vector production, and/or
  • immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry.


This scholarship is funded by New South Wales (NSW) Health and the University of Sydney as part of the NSW Health Gene and Cell Therapy PhD Program.


Applications MUST be submitted here:


Closing date: 11 February 2022 at 11.59 pm

Contact Prof Leszek Lisowski for more information:


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