Establishing the causative nature of mutations that underlie human brain developmental disorder
Unlocking the causes behind developmental brain disorders
Abnormal brain development can lead to disorders including epilepsy, intellectual disability and autism.
Recent improvements in DNA sequencing have facilitated detection of causative mutations in some developmental brain disorders. However, the inability to model genetic mutations in human neural tissue represents a significant barrier to fully characterising the genetic components underpinning neurodevelopmental disorders.
This project will use CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to study the functional impact of novel mutations in human pluripotent cells grown as cerebral organoids.
Possible approaches include:
- A time-course study to characterise organoids at various stages of growth (morphology, organisation, molecular profiles)
- Exploring new capabilities for the diagnosis of brain disorders, and personalised treatment options
This project is part of BioZone. BioZone brings a transdisciplinary approach to research in biomedical science and engineering to solve complex challenges, leading to improved patient care. Find out more about the BioZone vision here. Find out more about the PhD training program.
Research team leader: Associate Professor Julian Heng
I attained my bachelor's degree with first class honours at UWA, and then earned my doctorate from the University of Melbourne while working within the Howard Florey Institute (now the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health). In 2004, I undertook postdoctoral training at the National Institute for Medical Research (Mill Hill, UK), holding a CJ Martin Fellowship as well as an MRC Career Development Fellowship to extend my period of training.
This project will be co-supervised by Associate Professor Kevin Pfleger (Head, Molecular Endocrinology and Pharmacology) and Dr Jennifer Rodger (School of Biological Sciences, UWA).
Step 3 - Lodge application
After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, you should be in a position to proceed to the next step of the UWA application process: Lodge an application. Different application procedures apply to domestic and international students.
Scholarships specific to this project
Details of scholarships provided specifically for BioZone PhD projects are available on the UWA Scholarships website.
- Domestic students
A range of scholarships are available from international organisations and governments. The full list, organised by country, is available on the Future Students website.
In addition, all international students may apply for International Research Training Program scholarships.
The Australian Government's Endeavour Awards and Scholarships are available to international applicants from participating countries and regions.
Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for Indigenous Postgraduate Research Supplementary Scholarships.
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