Location University of New South Wales, School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences
App. deadline Applications accepted year round/until filled
  • Self funding students only
  • Please enquire for further details
  • Scholarship available
Eligibility Australian and New Zealand residents

Meta-analysis of biomedical data to answer questions in evolutionary biology and evolutionary medicine at I-DEEL, E&ERC, UNSW, Australia

Meta-analysis is a standard way to summarise human medical data to gain an unbiased overview of the field. However, only a handful of people have, to date, have meta-analyzed data from model animals (e.g. mice, rats, fruit flies, nematodes) especially for answering evolutionary questions. Our group (http://www.i-deel.org/) has been leading the way for such meta-analyses. We are seeking a PhD candidate who is interested in questions in evolutionary biology and evolutionary medicine. The candidate will use these biomedical animal data to answer evolutionary questions (e.g. transgenerational effect, the evolution of obesity, life history trade-offs and aging). The candidate has an opportunity to develop their own PhD project.


This PhD is a computer based project. The PhD candidate will be trained in meta-analytic procedures and likely to become an expert in meta-analysis and systematic reviews by the end of their PhD. More specifically, the candidate will learn database management, data searching techniques, text mining, multilevel statistical modeling and statistical and computational simulations. In addition, they may even learn to develop a new methodology (we have developed several new techniques in the past).


Please read our related publications and more (http://www.i-deel.org/):


Nakagawa, S., Noble, D. W. A. Senior, A. M. & Lagisz, M. (2017) Meta-evaluation of meta-analysis: ten appraisal questions for biologists. BMC Biology. 15: 18


Moatt, J.P., Nakagawa, S., Lagisz, M. & Walling, C. A. (2016) The effect of dietary restriction on reproduction: a meta-analytic perspective. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 16: 199


Garratt, M., Nakagawa, S. & Simons, M. (2016) Comparative idiosyncrasies in life-extension by reduced mTOR signalling and its distinctiveness from dietary restriction. Aging Cell 15: 737-743


Nakagawa, S., Poulin, R. Mengersen, K., Reinhold, K., Engqvist, L., Lagisz, M. & Senior, A. M. (2015) Meta-analysis of variation: ecological and evolutionary applications and beyond. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 6: 143-152


Lagisz, M., Blair, H., Kenyon, P., Uller, T., Raubenheimer, D. & Nakagawa, S. (2015) Little appetite for obesity: meta-analysis of the effects of maternal obesogenic diets on offspring food intake and body mass in rodents. International Journal of Obesity. 39: 1669–1678


Lagisz, M., Blair, H., Kenyon, P., Uller, T., Raubenheimer, D. & Nakagawa, S. (2014) Transgenerational effects of caloric restriction on appetite: a meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews. 15: 294-309


Lagisz, M., Hector, K. L. & Nakagawa, S. (2013) Life extension after heat shock exposure: assessing meta-analytic evidence for hormesis. Ageing Research Reviews. 12: 653-660


Nakagawa, S. Lagisz, M., Hector, K. L. & Spencer, H. G. (2012) Comparative and meta-analytic insights into life extension via dietary restriction. Aging Cell. 11:401-409


Hector, K. L., Lagisz, M. & Nakagawa, S. (2012) The effect of resveratrol on longevity across species: a meta-analysis. Biology Letters. 8: 790-793. 




(1) DISCUSS:  Email letter with CV, academic record, and details of two academic referees, to A/Prof Shinichi Nakagawa (s.nakagawa@unsw.edu.au). Your letter should explain how your results are sufficient to allow application for a SCHOLARSHIP at UNSW (see below).  At this point we cannot provide funding for a PhD from other sources, so you need to qualify for a scholarship (see below) or bring your own funding to work with us.


(2) PhD CANDIDACY APPLICATION: Requirements for PhD are BSc (Hons 1), MSc, or equivalent along with solid research and communication skills. For application timing and details, see: https://research.unsw.edu.au/how-apply-enrol-research-degree


(3a) PhD SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION - LOCAL:  Citizens or permanent residents of Australia/NZ, apply for APA and UPA at UNSW. You will need to have completed a research degree (e.g. MSc or BSc Honours research year), with results which are equivalent to 85% or higher, in order to be competitive for these scholarships.  Publications in ISI-listed international journals will also help. For application timing and details see: https://research.unsw.edu.au/postgraduate-research-scholarships



(3b) PhD SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION – INTERNATIONAL: Applicants who are NOT citizens or permanent residents of Australia/NZ, can apply for IPRS and UIPA at UNSW.  In order to be competitive for these scholarships, you will need to have completed a research degree (e.g. a full year of research in either MSc or BSc-Honours), with results which are equivalent to 95% or higher for the research component of the degree.  Note that a coursework MSc is NOT acceptable.

Please Note: Should this listing mention details of an available scholarship, it is your responsibility to confirm the specifics with the university / institute prior to applyiing. Terms and conditions are in some cases subject to change and are not always reflected immediately within listings.

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Further Information / Application Enquiries

A/Prof Shinichi Nakagawa