PhD Scholarships in Stem Cell Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

University of Queensland
Australia Queensland Brisbane


A newly established group, led by A/Prof Mar, centres on developing cutting-edge single cell bioinformatics methods to address questions in stem cell biology and human disease. We seek talented candidates who are driven to pursue a PhD to join in our group, and work together to help us tackle this exciting area of inter-disciplinary research!

Projects Available

The focus of the Mar lab is on understanding how variability and heterogeneity in biological signals affect the regulation of cell phenotypes. Our approaches explore the link between variability at the transcriptional level, with other ‘omic data types, as well as integrating patient biometric data, drug responses, or other cellular markers. Since we are interested in modelling how attributes like robustness and plasticity affect cells, a big area of research for the group is in stem cell biology. A focus on understanding heterogeneity has led us to the exciting area of single cell bioinformatics where variability is a very important aspect for understanding cell phenotypes. Three project areas are available for a PhD candidate to work on:

1. Modelling variability in gene expression to unlock insights into human aging and aging-related disease processes.
2. Integrating multiple ‘omic data to develop systems biology models to understand how plasticity and robustness are regulated in stem cells.
3. Developing bioinformatics methods based on Bayesian statistics for single cell next-generation sequencing data.

The Mar lab is also a member of the recently-formed UQ Centre in Stem Cell Ageing and Regenerative Engineering (UQ-StemCARE;, located within the AIBN which brings together UQ’s leading researchers in stem cell biology, bioengineering, neural, vascular, and musculo-skeletal biology, genome biology, proteomics, bioinformatics, and clinical ageing-related research.

As a bioinformatics group, the Mar lab collaborates widely with different researchers, and PhD candidates can expect to spend a portion of their candidature collaborating on StemCARE-related projects. Additionally, the lab has established collaborations with institutes internationally, e.g. Japan, and the United States, which give rise to projects that the PhD candidate will also be involved with.


A PhD represents a commitment to acquiring new skills, developing critical thinking, and learning to communicate across different disciplines. The end goal of this training period is to bring all these skills together to become an independent scientist. In bioinformatics, students are often required to build new computational methods, interpret complex data sets, and apply methods to understand scientific questions. We recognize that students will come to us from different backgrounds in order to learn these new skills and we welcome interest from domestic (i.e. Australian and New Zealand) students and international students.

Applicants will meet the requirements of admission to a Research Higher Degree at UQ, as described at This includes evidence of one of the following with a background in mathematics, statistics, computer science, genetics, computational biology, or a related field:

A bachelor's degree with honours class IIA or better from approved universities, which should include a relevant research component.
A research master's degree.
A coursework master's degree and an overall GPA (grade point average) equivalent to 5.65 on the 7-point UQ scale, which should include a relevant research component.
A postgraduate degree of at least one year full-time equivalent with an overall GPA (grade point average) equivalent to 5.0 on the 7-point UQ scale, together with demonstrated research experience equivalent to honours IIA will be considered for PhD entry on a case by case basis.
A bachelor's degree plus at least two years of documented relevant research experience, including research publications.
English language proficiency requirements apply.

Mandatory requirements for international applicants:

Excellent academic performance evidenced by a high Grade Point Average (GPA); and
International applicants must meet the University of Queensland's English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirements, detailed at
Previous publication activity and experience with studying abroad will be well-regarded.

Start date

July 02, 2018

How to Apply

To apply for this scholarship, please email Jessica Mar with the following documents: Cover Letter, Complete Tertiary Academic Records (with grades/GPA scores, and official grading scale details), and detailed Academic Resume/CV.


Jessica Mar