PhD Positions in Development of Novel Polymer Imaging Agents

The University of Queensland's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) is an integrated multi-disciplinary research institute bringing together the skills of world-class researchers working at the intersection of biology, chemistry, engineering and computer modelling. The institute has more than 450 researchers housed in a $AU75 million state-of-the-art building complimented by an extensive suite of facilities. This critical mass of researchers is working to develop new products and processes which will significantly impact human health, the environment, and the development of sustainable renewable energy. AIBN goes beyond basic research to promote and develop the growth of innovative industries, which will benefit the Queensland and Australian economies.

The Polymer Chemistry Group within AIBN has several PhD projects available supporting an extensive program of work in the development of polymeric imaging agents. Imaging agents are used in conjunction with one of the main imaging modalities, for example MRI, PET, ultrasound or x-ray CT, to improve image resolution or to identify a particular tissue type, for example diseased or cancerous cells. We are seeking students to work on the synthesis and evaluation of new imaging agents, to improve disease diagnosis and to assist treatment protocols. The projects available are concerned with 1) detection of vascular plaques using a novel antibody to activated platelets, 2) development of new MRI agents for detection of tumour boundaries in malignant glioma (brain cancer), 3) novel stimuli-responsive imaging agents which respond to changes in local biochemistry in the body, 4) novel hybrid nanoparticle imaging agents. The work will be part of the newly-established ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology (, a nation-wide network of scientists aiming at understanding and to exploit how materials interact with the human body. The work will also be in partnership with colleagues in the Centre for Advanced Imaging and Centre for Clinical Research at UQ, the CSIRO and QIMR Berghofer.

The successful candidates will study towards a PhD in polymer materials science within the Polymer Chemistry Group with ARC Australian Professorial Fellow Andrew Whittaker and his team. Research conducted within the Polymer Chemistry Group covers a broad range of topics, and is based on the group's expertise in polymerisation chemistry, on properties such as physical chemistry and durability of polymers, on the interaction of biological systems with polymers, and extensive experience in magnetic resonance and other spectroscopies. Skills in these fundamental areas are applied to specific, targeted research programs, including the current research projects focusing on polymeric imaging agents. For more details on the activities within the group please visit this web site (

The Person

The candidates will have a 1st Class Honours degree or equivalent and should be eligible for an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA), International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) or equivalent. Basic expertise and experience is required in one or more of the following areas: polymer synthetic chemistry, polymer or materials physical chemistry, synthetic organic chemistry. Prospective students will be provided with assistance to apply for either an APA or, for international students, an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS). More details are available here:


The stipend will be at the Australian Postgraduate Award rate of $25,849.00 per annum (2015 rate) tax free for three years, with incentive bonus for achievement of annual milestone. A six month extension is possible in approved circumstances.


Further information regarding the project can be obtained by contacting Prof Andrew Whittaker Email:


To apply for this role please DO NOT use the Apply button below. Please use the following link to apply:


Advertised: 19 Feb 2015
Applications close: 15 May 2015 (11:55 PM) E. Australia Standard Time

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