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Scholarship details

Ketelsen Scholarship

Status: Closed

Applications open: 21/11/2018
Applications close: 5/02/2019

View printable version [.pdf]

About this scholarship

The Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) are working together to span the gap in understanding between neurotrauma and AD. The PhD project will involve close collaboration, spending significant time at both Institutions and will explore the common mechanistic links between Alzheimer’s Disease and neurotrauma.

Common mechanisms of damage in neurotrauma and neurodegenerative disease

Oxidative damage to cells that make myelin is apparent in people with neurotrauma, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), multiple sclerosis (MS), and a range of other neurodegenerative conditions.  Compromised myelin structure is accompanied by chronic loss of function1,2. The Fitzgerald team recently demonstrated that shortly following neurotrauma, the DNA of myelinating oligodendrocytes experiences significant oxidative damage. Complementary studies, performed by Prof Karl Herrup at  HKUST, demonstrated that the DNA of mature, myelinating oligodendrocytes is damaged and the cells attempt to re-enter the cell cycle shortly before their death, early in the progression of human AD and mouse models of AD5.  However it is not yet known if aberrant oligodendrocyte cell cycle re-entry also happens in neurotrauma. Utilizing state-of-the-art epigenomics techniques, the Leung team has shown how non-coding elements regulate important transcriptional networks. One major focus of the group is to delineate the molecular mechanism of how epigenetic dysregulation is associated with demyelination. In this project, we will use pre-clinical models of neurotrauma and neurodegenerative disease to probe mechanisms of damage contributing to loss of myelin and function using histopathological and epigenetic techniques.

  • Future Students
  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Higher Degree by Research
  • Curtin students wanting to study overseas
  • Australian Citizen
  • Australian Permanent Resident
  • New Zealand Citizen
  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa
  • International Student
  • Merit Based

$27,082.00 per annum for 3 years (2018 RTP rate)

Scholarship Details


Candidates for this PhD scholarship are expected to:

• Hold an undergraduate degree in science or education at a high level (1st class honours) of academic achievement;
• Demonstrate an aptitude for research through their analytical skills and creative thinking;
• Be able to work in a team setting and take responsibility for their individual tasks;
• Possess excellent spoken and written communications skills that may be evidenced, for example, through their undergraduate   thesis/project work and presentations given; and
• Practise well-developed time- and self-management skills with strong personal discipline and drive in their work
• Have experience at Honours level in pre-clinical in vivo research, preferably with a neuroscience and/ or biochemistry focus; or have achieved a Distinction in a Masters biomedical course with a strong practical element

Application process

Interested applicants please email expression of interest to Prof Melinda Fitzgerald at with their CV, academic transcripts and letter addressing the eligibility criteria.

Enrolment Requirements

  • This project is not suitable for part-time study.
  • Evidence of progress and suitabiltiy for area of study.


Prof Melinda Fitzgerald at

Dr Danny Leung at

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