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Targeting Bacteria as an Early Detection Marker for Lung Cancer at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia 2023

Application is now open for the Targeting Bacteria as an Early Detection Marker for Lung Cancer at the University of Technology Sydney. Interested candidates are encouraged to send their applications in before the deadline date.

About the University of Technology Sydney and Scholarship

The public research University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is based in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The Sydney Technical College, which functioned as the predecessor of the New South Wales Institute of Technology (NSWIT), is liable for the university’s beginnings as a technical institution, which stretches back to 1878.

Outstanding candidates with training in biomedical sciences, pharmacology, pharmacy, or a related subject are urged to apply for a fully funded PhD fellowship at the Centre for Inflammation, Centenary Institute, under the supervision of Dr. Annalicia Vaughan and Prof. Phil Hansbro.


The 5-year survival rate for lung cancer, which has remained constant over the past three decades at 16%, remains the leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Early detection of lung cancer will allow them to diagnose people when the illness is treatable with surgery, which will increase the 5-year survival rate.

Although liquid biopsies are a less invasive technique for finding lung cancer, one of its key drawbacks is the poor yield of cell-free host DNA from plasma. This problem may be solved by concentrating on the blood’s microorganisms, which are 150 times bigger than the human genome. A signature for the disturbed bacterial population linked to lung cancer has been discovered in the blood in new research. This ‘ signature’ can differentiate between healthy individuals and lung cancer sufferers.

Aims and Hypothesis

Hypothesis: The blood of lung cancer patients may have a signature that was formed from germs in the early stages of the disease.

Aim: To find bacterially produced lung cancer biomarkers in blood samples and evaluate how sensitive these biomarkers are to detecting the presence of early-stage lung cancer.


The applicant could be expected to work in a clinical context to gather clinical samples among other things as part of this PhD program’s research, which will be conducted in a laboratory setting. The applicant will obtain substantial experience doing multi-omic analyses on human biospecimens (metagenomics, metabolomics, proteomics, and/or transcriptomics), as well as in creating and executing bioinformatic analyses. 

Significance and Outcome

Through this Ph.D. program, the applicant will discover a brand-new biomarker to be applied in a liquid biopsy for the early diagnosis of lung cancer: a cancer-related bacterial signature in the blood. Only 16% of lung cancer cases are detected early. The 5-year survival rate for these individuals is 56%. However, the 5-year survival rate for lung cancer patients who receive a late diagnosis drops to 5%, and more than half of them pass away within a year. By developing a new and sensitive liquid biopsy for the early identification of lung cancer, their study will directly address this issue.

Details about Targeting Bacteria as an Early Detection Marker for Lung Cancer at the University of Technology Sydney:

Scholarship Sponsor: University of Technology Sydney, Australia

Scholarship Value: $32,500 per year (RTP Stipend rate, indexed annually); additional funds ($7.5k) during the PhD for travel and other PhD-related expenses

Number of awards: N/A

Study level: PhD

Host Institution(s): University of Technology Sydney, Australia

Eligibility Criteria for Targeting Bacteria as an Early Detection Marker for Lung Cancer

Candidates are advised to meet the following requirements to be eligible for Targeting Bacteria as an Early Detection Marker for Lung Cancer at the University of Technology Sydney:

  • Candidates must be either nationals of New Zealand or permanent residents of Australia.
  • Candidates must be holders of a bachelor’s degree in a biological or medical field.
  • Have a proven track record in the classroom and have laboratory experience
  • Completion of an Honours degree with a First Class, Second Class, or Division 1; an MSc in Research; or an MSc in Coursework with a research thesis lasting at least six months. 

Selection Procedure

  • Possess outstanding communication skills, the capacity to interact with a wide range of individuals, and the ability to function both alone and as part of established collaborative teams. 
  • Be highly driven and capable to work independently.
  • Comprehend the conditions and setting of a study or laboratory.
  • Be acquainted with common research software on computers.
  • Know common lab procedures like ELISA, RNA extraction, reverse transcription, qPCR, western blotting, cell culture, aseptic technique, histological analysis, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, flow cytometry, and primer design. 
  • Be capable of performing in vivo mouse models.

Application Process for Targeting Bacteria as an Early Detection Marker for Lung Cancer

Prospective candidates may contact Prof. Phil Hansbro for further information and application instructions. Please send your CV and a brief description of your interest in the project. Shortlisted applicants will be reached for more information. For more information, please contact Prof. Phil Hansbro.

The Application Deadline is: 01 November 2023

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