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A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


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Academic background
Health Sciences, Sciences
Host campus
Associate Professor Dr Chris Brown


We are seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to join an interdisciplinary research team at the Biochemistry Department of the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Discovering new anti-bacterials. Scholarships can be applied for through the University of Otago.

About the project

There is an urgent need for replacements for antibiotics, due to increasing antimicrobial resistance (AMR). During evolution bacterial viruses have evolved to manipulate or destroy specific human pathogens.

There are huge and rapidly increasing numbers of sequences from bacterial viruses available, but this wealth of data has not been able to be fully utilised. It has now become possible for us to mine this data for new antibiotics. In preliminary studies we have identified thousands of potential antibacterials.

This PhD or MSc project will provide proof of principle by discovering and testing pre-clinically new antibacterials. These experiments will be done on-campus in a research laboratory, targeting key bacterial pathogens of relevance to NZ and worldwide. The project will open up a novel and flexible approach to transform antibiotic discovery.

Applicant attributes

Highly motivated individuals with a BSc(Hons) or MSc in Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, or related discipline are encouraged to apply.

The ideal candidates will have practical knowledge in plasmid construct design and expression in bacteria, and in genomic analysis.

Excellent communication skills, willingness to work in a team, and the ability to plan and interpret experiments in an independent manner are important attributes.

The applicants must meet the criteria for enrolment in the PhD programme at the University of Otago.

Scholarship details

Consumables for the project are available through an HRC explorer grant.

Doctoral scholarships are likely guaranteed if you have a 'A' in a research degree from a New Zealand university.
All candidates must be eligible for admission to the University of Otago and apply for a MSc or PhD scholarship. These scholarship is available to both domestic and international students but are very competitive.

International students should look at the International Office for entry requirements (excellent academic grade/GPA is necessary) and contact the lab beforehand (we will assist successful candidates). All applicant must apply and be awarded a University of Otago scholarship and international candidates must reside in New Zealand for the duration of the project and study under a New Zealand student visa.

How to apply

Email your preliminary application to Chris Browns' email address from their University web page.

The information must include these. Incomplete information will not be considered. You may combine these into one file.

  1. A PDF of your CV. Including contacts for two academic referees. List any publications.
  2. A PDF of your academic transcript.
  3. A short motivation statement (~500 words). This should highlight evidence of your aptitude for research, and should also include a statement of the ranking your research degree institution, and/or quality of publications.
  4. A PDF of your research thesis. Your thesis and publications will show proof of research ability.

Excellent students will be supported in their formal application for University of Otago admittance and a scholarship. The above information will support a case for a scholarship application.


Contact name
Associate Profesor Chris Brown
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