PhD and Honours student opportunities

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We are always looking for talented PhD and Honours students to join us.

About you: Students enthusiastic about discovering fundamental principles in biology with an undergraduate degree in relevant disciplines including: molecular/structural/theoretical/cell biology, (bio-)chemistry, (bio-)physics, (bio-)engineering, immunology, virology, and mathematics. We welcome students from all countries, backgrounds and cultures. Contact us if you are interested in PhD positions or Honours projects. Honours is a research year for Bachelor's students at Australian universities. We also offer internships for students who want to gain experience in the lab before embarking on their PhD pogram.

About us: Single Molecule Science is a node in the EMBL Australia Partner Laboratory Network sittting within the UNSW Medicine & Health's School of Medical Sciences (SoMS). We also have links to UNSW Science's School of Physics. We are about 80 researchers from all over the world with different scientific backgrounds. We are committed to people and culture and aim to foster a vibrant and inclusive research environment. Our initiatives include a workplace culture roundtable, professional development programs and creative club. Our student society (SEAMS) organises events and retreats to share experience and build a supportive community. Our labs and microscopes are located in the Lowy Cancer Research building in the biomedical precinct of UNSW Sydney. The campus is located in Kensington, a short distance from the city centre, parks and beaches.

Supervisors and projects

Our core scientific vision is to integrate across length scales how processes at the molecular level – the ‘bottom-up’ perspective of single-molecule biophysics – drive function at the systems level – the ‘top-down’ perspective of cell biology and physiology. We research a broad range of biological questions in areas including molecular self-assembly; intracellular transport; host-pathogen interactions; immune cell activation, migration and swarming; mechanobiology; and development. Our experimental systems range from self-assembly and reconstitution over cells and organoids to whole organisms, with a focus on advanced imaging approaches. The broad aim is to investigate molecular and cellular processes in real-time. We have strengths in theoretical biology that are integrated with laboratory experimentation. Projects also include technology development.

Learn more about our research focus areas here

*Please feel free to contact any of our group leaders if any of these research areas interest you*

PhD program at UNSW

The PhD at UNSW consists of a 3.5 year research project with a final thesis. PhD candidates are accompanied by a PhD panel to review goals, progress and wellbeing.

How to apply

There are three intakes of PhD students per year. Get in touch with potential supervisors at any time and then apply for admission and scholarships in the next available round. Scholarships are available to cover tuition fees and to provide a living allowance.

Step 1: Get in touch with potential supervisors for an interview. This is an informal process for you to meet different supervisors, talk about your interests and motivation, and discuss possible projects. Supervisors can then put you in touch with their students for a chat about their experiences. The aim is to identify a good fit between you and SMS research groups. Potential supervisors can also guide you through the application process.

Step 2: Apply for admission into the PhD program at UNSW and apply for a scholarhip. Applications for admission and scholarships are intergrated. Find relevant information at the links below.

Application deadlines

How to apply

Scholarships for domestic and international students

Honours program at UNSW

In the Australian system, Honours is a year of research undertaken at the end of an undergraduate degree. If you are a Science or Medical Sciences student interested in an Honours project as part of your undergraduate degree, just get in touch with SMS group leaders to discuss potential projects. We have (co-)supervised students enrolled in Honours at SoMS and Schools of Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences (BaBS) and Physics. Applications are submitted via the respective Schools.