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PhD with Full Scholarship at University of Tasmania in Australia, 2016

The University of Tasmania in Australia is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD scholarship. The successful applicant will work on the research project entitled ‘Investigating The Anti-Inflammatory Potential Of Fucoidan’ under the supervision of Dr Raj Eri and Prof Nuri Gueven.

There is a large and growing need for effective anti-inflammatory agents with minimal side effects. In this context, fucoidan (a component of brown sea weed) has been widely reported as a promising anti-inflammatory agent. We previously reported anti-inflammatory effects of fucoidan in clinical, in vivo and in-vitro studies; an arthritis study (Myers et al. 2010), a topical skin study (Fitton et al. 2015) and notably in a recent colitis study (Lean et al. 2015). At present, only very limited information is available how fucoidan exerts its anti-inflammatory activity.
“Inflammasomes” are innate immune system receptors and sensors that regulate the activation of caspase-1 and induce inflammation in response to infectious microbes and host protein-derived molecules. When inappropriately stimulated, inflammasomes cause chronic inflammatory disorders.

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Purpose of project:
This project aims to identify cellular anti-inflammatory pathways targeted by fucoidan. Nutritional grade fucoidan fractions will be tested to assess which subcomponents are responsible for the observed anti-inflammatory activity. This will allow us to optimise the preparation of fucoidan extraction to optimise its anti- inflammatory activity. The anti-inflammatory effects will be tested in cellular and an animal model guided by early results.

Specific aims:
1. Test the efficacy of fucoidan and fractions thereof for inhibition of inflammasome activation (via Il-1b) in macrophages.
2. Test fucoidan and/or the active fraction(s) in multiple models of chronic inflammation
3. Generate two or more high impact publications.

BSc (Hons) First Class or Research Master’s degree in biological sciences with experience in animal handling, basic molecular biology methods such as qPCR, Westerns and cell culture. Experience as Research Assistant is an added bonus for this position.

How to Apply:
Dr Raj Eri (School of Health Sciences, UTAS); email: rderi-at-utas.edu.au
A/Prof Nuri Gueven (School of Medicine, UTAS); email: nguven-at-utas.edu.au