Location University of Newcastle, Faculty of Health and Medicine
App. deadline 30/09/2019
  • Please enquire for further details
  • Scholarship available
Eligibility Australian residents only

"Obesity paradox" in stroke: studies on the blood-brain barrier

Obesity is a major risk factor for stroke. Pre-clinical studies have shown that obesity worsens outcomes in rodents. However, many clinical studies suggest a better outcome in obese patients after stroke. This "obesity paradox" is still under debate and the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Since both obesity and stroke are major public health issues, it is important to fully understand the association between these two diseases. The effects of obesity on stroke outcome appear to converge at the cerebral vasculature and the blood–brain barrier (BBB, the physiological barrier that protects the brain from blood-borne toxins and pathogens, and regulates molecular traffic between the blood and the brain). Both animal and human studies suggests that inflammation and oxidative stress is key in mediating these effects, contributing to the demise of the ischaemic penumbra (the potentially salvageable tissue surrounding the dead ischaemic core). This project will investigate the effects of obesity on the BBB in contributing to protection during ischaemic stroke. 

The project will be carried out at the University of Newcastle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX9pRWwuxjI) and the Hunter Medical Research Institute (located on the John Hunter Hospital Campus). The student will use a range of preclinical stroke and obesity models, including a novel model to specifically target fat cells. In addition, the student will have the opportunity to work on cell culture models of the BBB, and gain experience in advanced microsurgical skills, lipidomics and microscopy techniques. They will join a team undertaking an array of preclinical and clinical research in this field, and will have access to cutting-edge laboratory equipment, exceptional mentoring opportunities, and possible collaborative work with overseas biopharmaceutical companies. 

Supervisory team: 
Dr Adjanie Patabendige (Primary) 
A/Prof Doan Ngo 
Prof Neil Spratt 

We are seeking applications from individuals who have completed, or are shortly expected to complete, an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science or an equivalent degree. Applicants are required to have a first class or second-class upper honours degree. Strong proficiency in English is essential. Applicants should have strong work ethics, and communication and teamwork skills. Out of hours and weekend work maybe required due to the nature of the project. 

Applicants should send an email expressing their interest, including scanned copies of their academic transcripts, CV, a brief statement of their research interests and a proposal that specifically links them to the research project, to Adjanie.Patabendige@newcastle.edu.au by 30 September 2018.

The full scholarship is available to domestic/Australian applicants only. Self-funded overseas applicants maybe considered.

The scholarship consists of the following: 
- Stipend (living allowance) - $27,082 p.a. (2018 rate)* indexed in January each year. The stipend is offered for a period of 3.5 years 
- Tuition fee scholarship for a maximum of 4 years (or part-time equivalent) 
- Relocation allowance of $1500 (a domestic candidate will need to provide receipts as evidence of incurring relocation expenses) 

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.

See our full disclaimer

Further Information / Application Enquiries

Dr Adjanie Patabendige
+61 249 217 856