Expression of Interest - GP OSMOTIC PhD Scholarship

ProjectExploring hypoglycaemia and GV in T2D, clinical and epigenetic markers and association with T2D outcomes
Scholarship$26,288 p.a. for 3.5 years to support a PhD position; $2,000 for research-related travel annually.
Lead SupervisorAssociate Professor John Furler
Project Duration3.5 years full time commencing 2017
Enquiriesj.furler@unimelb.edu.au
Closing DateExpression of Interest closes 5pm, Friday 16 December 2016

Who Can Apply

Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences PhD course information: http://mdhs-study.unimelb.edu.au/degrees

How to Apply

Enquiries and expressions of interest should be directed to Associate Professor John Furler.

Eligibility check closes 16 December 2016. Submit the following supporting documents to determine eligibility:

  • A brief proposal of the field of intended research
  • An academic CV with three academic referees that can be contacted; your CV should include your details of all research experience including positions held and publications produced.
  • Copies of academic transcripts (please include reference key for explaining grade results, i.e. the range of grades)

This information should be emailed to Associate Professor John Furler.

Full applications close: 20 January 2017. Potential applicants assessed as eligible after stage 1 will be informed and are required to submit their scholarship and UoM Graduate Research candidature applications by this date.

Project Details

GP OSMOTIC is a newly awarded NHMRC funded study (2016-18) led by the Department of General Practice at the University of Melbourne and a strong international, multi-institution and multidisciplinary team.

Background: Unstructured-Self Monitoring of Blood Glucose (US-SMBG) is ineffective whereas structured-SMBG can improve glycaemic levels. Retrospective continuous glucose monitoring (rCGM), as a more acceptable and user-friendly form of S-SMBG, is particularly useful in T2D (with day-to-day similarity in glycaemic profile), where intermittent, judicious glycaemic profiling can help patient and GP discuss treatment options in a highly personalised way. Our own pilot work suggests rCGM is acceptable and feasible in primary care and may be effective.

The primary research question of the study is:

Is targeted, intermittent r-CGM (used 4 times/year) a cost-effective way of helping patients with T2D achieve glycaemic targets in primary care?

The study also offers a unique opportunity to gather robust data on the prevalence of hypoglycaemia amongst a GP T2D population. Another of the key domains that is assessed by r-CGM is ‘glycaemic variability’ (GV). There is growing interest in GV as an independent risk factor for diabetes complications. Potential alternative and cheaper ways of assessing GV include 1 plasma 1’5 anhydroglucitrol (1,5-AG) levels. Epigenetic biomarkers (e.g. DNA methylation, modification of histones and non-coding RNAs, including microRNAs) also offer the possibility of predicting GV and identifying novel therapeutic pathways to treat GV. We will collect blood from all participants in GP-OSMOTIC who consent to this to store (pending funding) with the specific purpose of exploring alternative measures and predictors of GV in collaboration with Professor Alicia Jenkins at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre at the University of Sydney.

The student will be involved in the development and implementation phases of the project. Issues to be explored could include (but are not limited to)

  • Clinical predictors of GV and hypoglycaemia
  • Epigenetic predictors of GV and hypoglycaemia.

Outcomes

  • Applicants will be advised of the eligibility check outcome by 23 December 2016.
  • The successful applicant will be invited to submit an online University of Melbourne application form.
  • Applicants should note that the offer of a PhD place must be taken up by 31 March 2017 on a full-time basis.