Applications for this PhD have now closed.
Location Western Sydney University, Graduate Research School
App. deadline 01/07/2018
  • Scholarship available
Project ID 2018_106_SOM
Eligibility Australian residents only

SOM: Identifying Biomarkers to Predict Cancer Patient Response to Immunotherapy

Identifying Biomarkers to Predict Cancer Patient Response to Immunotherapy School of Medicine Scholarship code: 2018-106.

Please visit for full instructions on how to apply.

The Ingham Institute conducts world-class medical research and Western Sydney University is one of its key partners. Founded by the community for the community, the Ingham’s award-winning researchers are dedicated to finding better ways to improve health.

About the project

We are now offering The Robert and Norma Ingham PhD Scholarship to a highly motivated PhD candidate to work within a School of Medicine research group (based at the Ingham Institute) focusing on cancer immunotherapy. The project is funded through 2021.

Immunotherapy is a novel type of cancer treatment which aims to activate the patient's immune system to kill their cancer. Approximately 30% of patients treated in trials show a strong response to immunotherapy but there are no current methods for determining which patients are likely to respond. We are offering a PhD scholarship to a highly motivated clinical researcher to work on an inter-disciplinary project aiming to identify biomarker which can predict which cancer patients will respond to immunotherapy.

This project will involve recruitment and follow-up of patients commencing on immunotherapy treatment in the SWSLHD including at Liverpool and Campbelltown hospitals. The student will assess tissue-based biomarkers including expression of PD-L1/ PD-1, infiltrating lymphocytes, blood-based biomarkers and the gut microbiome of patients and correlate finding with patient outcomes including response rate, adverse events and disease-free survival.

The project will be based at IIAMR and will involve work at Campbelltown and Liverpool Hospitals depending on patient recruitment needs.

About Robert (Bob) Walter Ingham AO and Norma Dorothea Ingham

Born in Casula, New South Wales Bob was brought up working with his father on the family - run poultry farm and piggery, which he and his brother inherited when their father died in 1953. Bob married Norma in 1953, a girl who also grew up in South West Sydney. The woman behind the man. They had four children.

A leading businessman, he is well known for his distinguished achievements in building Australia's largest poultry company, Inghams Enterprises Pty Ltd. 

He is equally well known for his interests in racing and breeding thoroughbreds as Australia's largest and most successful racehorse owner.

Bob has never lost his connection with South Western Sydney, where he has in fact lived and worked all his life and where he continues to live today.

Community giving has always been important to Bob and it is a value recognized and followed by his family.It was through his vision and generosity that today we have the Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research located in South Western Sydney.

His goal was to establish an Institute that would provide a platform for world-class research and a link for research to health services, the Universities, health education and clinical practice. Bob's endorsement and participation with Western Sydney University and the PhD scholarship program is an extension of this vision, creating opportunities and demand for young doctors and world-class researchers here in South West Sydney. It is a program he is immensely proud to be associated with.

What does the scholarship provide?

  • Domestic candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs, supported by the Research Training Program (RTP) Fees Offset.
  • Support for conference attendance, fieldwork and additional costs as approved by the School.

Eligibility criteria

We welcome applicants with strong backgrounds in any of - molecular biology, oncology, cell biology or immunology. In particular, the project is suitable for candidates with strong interests in cancer therapy, personalised medicine and biomarkers. Applicants with a medical degree are encouraged to apply.

The successful applicant should:

  • hold qualifications and experience equal to one of the following (i) an Australian First Class Bachelor (Honours) degree, (ii) coursework Masters with at least 25% research component, (iii) Research Masters degree, or (iv) equivalent overseas qualifications.
  • demonstrate strong academic performance in subjects relevant to cancer or molecular biology and related fields.
  • have an understanding of cancer immunotherapy.
  • be willing to learn analytical techniques applicable to cancer.
  • be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level.

Applicants with a medical degree will be viewed favourably.

International applicants are not eligible for this scholarship.

How to apply - please visit to apply.

All applications and supporting documentation must be submitted directly to the Graduate Research School.

Please contact the Graduate Research School via email at for more information.

Applications close 1 July 2018

*Applications close at 11.59pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).

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

Research Scholarships Officer Graduate Research School
+61 2 9678 7060