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Scholarship details

4-year PhD Scholarship in Tumour Biology: Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute

Status: Closed

Applications open: 8/11/2018
Applications close: 31/12/2018

View printable version [.pdf]

About this scholarship

This 4 year PhD studentship offered in Prof. Pieter Eichhorn’s group is based at the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, in Building 305.

We are looking for a motivated PhD level researcher with a strong background in biochemical/molecular biology approaches with an emphasis on cell signalling. Funds for up to 4 years are available.

  • Current Students
  • Future Students
  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Higher Degree by Research
  • Australian Citizen
  • Australian Permanent Resident
  • New Zealand Citizen
  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa
  • International Student
  • Merit Based

$27,082 per annuma (2018 RTP rate)

Scholarship Details


Possess a relevant post-graduate (Honours or Masters) university degree, this may include, but is not limited to the fields of genetics, molecular cell biology and/or biochemistry.

  •  Be able to commit to a four year tenure, full-time enrolment.
  •  Be located in Western Australia
  •  Possess a relevant post-graduate (Honours or Masters) university degree, this may include, but is not limited to the fields of genetics, molecular cell biology and/or biochemistry.
  •  Have demonstrated knowledge and experience with molecular biology techniques, including western blots and cell culture.
  •  Provide evidence of strong oral and written communication skills.
  •  Have the ability to work independently as well as part of a research team.
  •  Meet Curtin University’s PhD entry requirements:

Application process

Interested applicants should email an expression of interest to Associate Professor Pieter Eichhorn ( include:

• Cover letter (including a brief background of your current studies and academic achievements, interest in the area and personal goals related to the research)
• Resume
• Academic transcripts

Please use the subject header:
Application: PhD Scholarship in Tumour Biology
This scholarship is subject to approval of admission at Curtin in the HDR course.
We reserve the right to commence shortlisting immediately. Screening and interviews may take place prior to the advertised close date.

Enrolment Requirements

Must be able to commit to a 4-year tenure.

Changes to Enrolment

Full-time enrolment


For further information please contact:


Associate Professor Pieter Eichhorn (


Further Information

Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling pathway controls various cellular functions including proliferation, transformation, differentiation and is frequently mutated in cancer. The generation of inhibitors targeting oncogenic lesions in this pathway has revolutionized the treatment of patients. Unfortunately, however, rarely do tumours completely regress limiting the overall response rates of these compounds. One of the major reasons for this is that targeted therapy with kinase inhibitors induces complex compensatory mechanisms, also known as adaptive responses or feedback loops, permitting a small proportion of the original tumour cell population to survive and eventually to proliferate. Thus, identification and targeted inhbition of these feedback loops may lead to new successful therapeutic strategies.
We have recently identified the E3-ligase SMURF2 as a novel regulator of the MAPK pathway. SMURF2 ubiquitinates and degrades the K-RAS negative regulator B-TrCP, resulting in K-RAS stabilisation and activation of downstream MAPK signalling. Preliminary work has led to the identification of a number of peptide-based compounds that may target SMURF2 ligase activity. Using both in vitro and in vivo models we aim to test these molecules and analyze their ability to inhibit MAPK signalling in K-RAS mutant cancers.

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