The Priority Clinical Centre for Cardiovascular Health is seeking expressions of interest for a motivated student to investigate the role of a novel extracellular matrix protein in pressure overload-induced cardiac fibrosis, under the supervision of Professor Andrew Boyle and Dr Lucy Murtha.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and the Hunter region has one of the highest rates of heart disease in Australia.

The accumulation of scar tissue (cardiac fibrosis) is a significant complication of every cardiovascular disease, and leads to significantly impaired heart function.

Currently, cardiac fibrosis has limited treatment options. We have recently identified a novel protein which is expressed in the aging and fibrotic heart.

This protein is involved in the maintenance of the cardiac extracellular matrix and preliminary studies suggest it may play an important and complex role in cardiac fibrosis in heart disease.

To characterise the role of this protein in heart disease, we developed a novel knockout mouse.

This honours project will utilise an in vivo model of pressure overload-induced heart failure to elucidate the fibrotic role of this protein using this novel knockout mouse.

The ultimate aim of the project is to determine its potential as a therapeutic target.


A scholarship is available at the Research Training Program stipend rate, which provides a full-time living allowance of $26,682 per annum (2017 rate, tax-free, indexed annually), for a period of up to 3.5 years (equivalent full-time student load).


Candidates with a degree in health, biomedical or biotechnology sciences (or equivalent) from a reputable Higher Education Organisation. English proficiency essential. The successful candidates will be expected to commence studies in January 2018. Mid-year applicants will also be considered.