Undergraduate Scholarships

SUMMER Vacation Research Scholarships (SVRS) 2017-2018

Applications open on TBC and close TBC.

Are you a science student who would like the opportunity to experience the real world of scientific research first-hand?
Students in the penultimate (second last) year of their undergraduate program in Science or a related discipline are invited to apply for a SVRS to join a BABS research team and participate in research over the coming summer.

Each SVRS scholarship is valued at $3,800 and students will participate in a 6-week research project. The School may also offer additional BABS SVRS scholarships valued at $2,000.

The School facilitates collaborative research efforts across discipline boundaries for fundamental discoveries, generation of commercial opportunities and clinical research. BABS has key strengths in environmental microbiology, genetics and cellular biology, molecular medicine, and associated technology development in the areas of functional genomics and many facets of biotechnology. The School has a unique strength in combining fundamental biological and biomolecular sciences with a strong applied biotechnology and medical focus. 

Interested in Applying?
The first step of the application process is to contact the supervisor of your chosen project to discuss the project's requirements. When you have decided on your project preferences please submit an application form by the closing date (TBC).

Full details (including how to apply) are provided on the Faculty of Science website: Summer Vacation Research Scholarships. Enquiries can be directed to svrs@unsw.edu.au

Honours Relocation Scholarship Opportunities in BABS:
External students to UNSW, who are interested in undertaking Honours in BABS may also like to view the Science Honours Relocation Scholarships and BABS Relocation Awards that are available.

SVRS PROJECTS IN BABS 2016-17 (2017-18 Projects are TBC)

NOTE: If you identify a BABS staff member whose work you are interested in but they do not have a project listed on our website, you are encouraged to approach them to inquire whether they would be interested in offering a SVRS project.

Supervisor: Prof Bill Ballard 

Contact details: Email: w.ballard@unsw.edu.au, Phone: 9385 2021, Office: Room 217, Level 2, Biological Sciences Building.

Project: Nutrigenomics and balancing selection
Nutrigenomics is the study of the interaction between nutrition and genes. Balancing selection refers to the selective processes by which different genetic variants are maintained in a population.   In this project we ask whether differential fitness effects caused by diet have potential to influence the frequency of Drosophila flies in nature. The study has immediate implications for our understanding of the links between diet and fitness in humans.

Time project is available: From December 2016 to February 2017.

Preferred students: Finishing second year

Other conditions: Interest in genetics.

Supervisor: Prof Andrew Brown

Contact details: Email: aj.brown@unsw.edu.au, Phone: 9385 2029, Office: Room 229, Level 2, Biological Sciences Building.

Project: Understanding the Cellular Cholesterol Economy 
Cholesterol is both lethal and vital, and therefore we have evolved elaborate mechanisms to keep our cellular cholesterol levels under tight control. Regulation of cell cholesterol can be explained in simple economic terms. As with every efficient economy, the supply of cholesterol is geared towards the demand for this molecule. However, making cholesterol from scratch is an expensive business from the viewpoint of the energy required by a cell. There are over 20 enzymes involved in cholesterol synthesis, and we have found that some of these are degraded rapidly whilst others are quite stable. Our work on several of these enzymes has revealed an intricate network of regulation. This project will investigate some of the degradation mechanisms involved in regulating cholesterol synthesis enzymes.

Techniques involved: molecular cloning, site-directed mutagenesis, mammalian cell culture, transfection of plasmids and siRNA. 

Time project is available: From January to February 2017

Preferred students: Students majoring in Biochemistry or Molecular Biology, with a keen interest in how life is regulated at the protein level.

Supervisor: Dr Richard Edwards

Contact details: Email: richard.edwards@unsw.edu.au, Phone: 9385 0490, Office: Room 263B, Level 2, Biological Sciences Building. 

Two projects are available:

Project 1: Functional genomics with PacBio long-read sequencing
The latest generation of long-read single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing is revolutionising genomics. We are using the new PacBio service at the Ramaciotti Centre for Genomics to sequence novel yeast and bacterial genomes. A number of student projects are available in collaboration with BABS and industry, including: improving PacBio de novo whole genome assembly; completing and annotating genomes; comparative genomics to identify molecular mechanisms for novel biological functions.

Project 2: Molecular mimicry in host-pathogen interactions
Many viruses hijack host cellular machinery through the molecular mimicry of host Short Linear Motifs (SLiMs). It is likely that pathogenic bacteria may employ similar strategies. This project will apply state-of-the-art SLiM prediction tools developed in our lab to published datasets of host-pathogen protein-protein interactions. This will help us understand how pathogens mess with their hosts - and how to stop them! 

Time project is available: From January to February 2017

Preferred students: Students should have an interest in genomics, molecular mechanisms and bioinformatics. Prior experience or an interest in programming would be beneficial but is not required.

Other conditions: This project is computational.

Supervisor: Dr Belinda Ferrari

Contact details: Email: b.ferrari@unsw.edu.auPhone: 9385 2032, Office: Room 132, Level 1, Samuels Building. 

Project: Atmospheric carbon fixation: a novel strategy for surviving at the limits of life.
We have recently discovered a new dark-carbon fixation process to be dominating microbial communities in eastern Antarctic polar desert soils. This biochemical process relies on the consumption of atmospheric gases; molecular hydrogen and carbon monoxide as a potentially novel primary production strategy. At this stage we do not know the global significance of this process. This project will employ a combination of bioinformatics techniques, including a phylogenetic analysis and mining metagenomic databases, to determine the significance of novel bacterial phyla (AD3 and WPS-2) with this unique capability across both Antarctic and Australian soils.  

Time project is available: From December 2016 to February 2017

Preferred students: Microbiology

Supervisor: A/Prof Ruiting Lan

Contact details: Email: r.lan@unsw.edu.au, Phone: 9385 2095, Office: Room 301B, Level 3, Biological Sciences/Samuels Building. 

Project: Streamlining analysis of next generation genome sequencing data
Next generation sequencing technologies such as Illumina sequencing generate large amount of genome sequencing data which have presented major challenges of how to analyse the data. In this project, we will improve methods for genome analysis, with particular interests in streamlining single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) discovery. Illumina sequencing data from multiple strains of Salmonella generated from our own lab will be used as testing dataset. The student will join a research team consisting of a postdoctoral fellow and doctoral students working on bacterial genomics.

Time project is available: From December 2016 to February 2017

Preferred studentsThird year student with bioinformatics background

Other conditionscomputational, experience of a scripting language is essential

Supervisor: A/Prof Louise Lutze-Mann

Contact details: Email: l.lutze-mann@unsw.edu.au, Phone: 9385 2024, Office: Room 241C, Level 2, Biological Sciences/Samuels Building. 

Project: Investigation of the efficacy of novel antibodies for cancer detection
We have been investigating a novel detection method for cancer that relies on the production of IgY molecules from hens. These antibodies have been raised against a potential marker for prostate and pancreatic cancers. This project will involve screening the antibodies in ELISA assays and possibly in Surface Plasmon Resonance (used for determining protein-protein interactions).

Time project is available: From December 2016 to January 2017

Preferred studentsThird year, molecular, cell biology, immunology

Supervisor: A/Prof Mark Tanaka

Contact details: Email: m.tanaka@unsw.edu.au, Phone: 9385 2038, Office: Room 138, Level 1, Biological Sciences Building.

Project: Modelling single nucleotide polymorphisms in protein-coding sequences in bacterial genomes 
Widely used methods for interpreting the evolution of codon sequences consider the ratio of rates of non-synonymous and synonymous evolution (dN/dS). These methods are designed for time scales long enough to allow multiple mutations to become fixed in a population. As noted by population geneticists, this assumption is violated when one is studying polymorphisms - variants in a population that have not yet become fixed. Taking these polymorphisms as fixed differences is problematic for interpreting the dN/dS ratio.  

Here we will study the case of very short term evolution in which the ancestral genome is known or can be inferred and propose ways to analyse non-synonymous and synonymous polymorphisms in genomic data.  

Time project is available: From early-December 2016 to late-February 2017; exact period to be negotiated with student

Preferred students: This project would suit either a student with a quantitative background (e.g. mathematics, statistics, physics, engineering) with an interest in biology, OR a biology student with an interest in picking up skills in computing or modeling. 


Applications close TBC

BABS is pleased to announce a new Honours scholarship scheme open to students commencing honours in BABS in 2017:

Amount - $2,000
Criteria - to be eligible to apply:

o Candidates must be enrolled/commencing honours in BABS in 2017

o Candidates must NOT hold any other honours scholarship

o Candidates must have a third year science WAM of 85% or above. Scholarship/s will be awarded to the students with the highest WAM.

To apply: complete the Application Form and submit via email to babs@unsw.edu.au by TBC.

ROY and Lois Tirrell AWARD (UGCA1213)

Applications close 31 March

Applications are now open for students commencing stage 2 or 3 of a Science program:  

Amount - $3,000

Criteria - to be eligible to apply:

o Applicants must have completed (at a minimum), stage 1 of their degree.

o Applicants must be undertaking a major in “Molecular and Cell Biology” in a Science degree program.  

Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents. 

To apply: complete and submit the Application Form by 31 March.