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PhD position in Mathematical Biology

  • 31 Mar 2023
  • Modena (Italy) and Melbourne (Australia)
PhD position in Mathematical Biology, within the joint graduate program of Universita’ di Modena e Reggio Emilia and Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.

Please contact Prof. Federico Frascoli and/or Prof. Cecilia Vernia if interested in this position (emails below). Note that this joint program offers a double PhD. The successful candidate will be awarded, at the end of his candidature, two PhD certificates: one from The University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and one from Swinburne University of Technology.
The title of the project is Understanding latent fate programming in immune T cells
For a single cell to give rise to a multicellular organism, it and its progeny must divide, differentiate and/or die in response to intrinsic and extrinsic cues. Similarly in our adaptive immune response, a single naïve T cell yields diverse progenies that meet both the immediate needs of host defence, and the longer term needs of immune memory. This project is focussed on understanding how the fate of naïve T cell progenies is determined.

Fate can be determined in one generation, but not manifest until several generations later. How fate is controlled in cells of the adaptive immune system would be invaluable for medical interventions such as vaccination, cancer immunotherapy, and autoimmune therapies, but has not yet been achieved. The candidate, together with the supervisors, will focus on developing an original and accurate mathematical model to understand how and when the fate of a cell is determined. A combination of advanced analytical, computational and statistical methods will be used.
The candidate is required to meet Swinburne’s English language requirement for international applicants and must provide evidence of one of the following:
• minimum IELTS overall band of 6.5 (Academic Module) with no individual band below 6.0 no longer than 24 months before submitting your application;
• a TOEFL iBT (internet-based) minimum score of 79 (with a reading band no less than 18 and writing band no less than 20) no longer than 24 months before submitting your application;
• a Pearson (PTE) 58 (no communicative skills less than 50) no longer than 24 months before submitting your application;
• successful completion of a total of 24 months (full time equivalent) of formal study where the language of instruction and assessment was English at AQF level 7 or above (or equivalent) at an approved university no longer than 60 months before submitting your application.

The candidate will be initially based in Melbourne, with the possibility of spending up to 18 months (consecutively or for different, separate periods) in Modena, Italy. The monthly stipend will be AU$2500 (approximately 1600 EUR). The maximum length of the scholarship is four years, with a full stipend available for 3.5 years.
Thesis allowance, relocation costs and a $3,500 (2300 EUR) research grant for research-related expenses (travel, conferences, collaborations etc) will also be provided. More details can be found at the SUPRA (Swinburne University Postgraduate Research Award) webpage.
The two principal supervisors for the project will be Prof. F. Frascoli (Swinburne) and Prof. C. Vernia (UNIMORE). Please contact either of the two for more information at ffrascoli@swin.edu.au and cecilia.vernia@unimore.it

To express their interest, candidates are required to submit the following documents:
• a short (max 2 pages) curriculum vitae, in English;
• a copy of the certificate of the English test that satisfies Swinburne’s English language requirement. If that is not available, an indication of when the candidate will sit the chosen language exam. Please write to the supervisors, Vernia and Frascoli, for more information about availability of tests in Italy.
• a statement of up to 200 words explaining why the candidate wants to apply for this PhD project, in English.

Please submit the above material via email with subject “UniMORE-Swinburne PhD” to ffrascoli@swin.edu.au and/or cecilia.vernia@unimore.it

The deadline for applications is on Friday, 31st March at 5 pm Italian time

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