Optimising treatments of STIs using pharmacokinetics

Study level
Graduate Research
Enrolment status
Future student
Study Area


The Sexual Health Unit, in the Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, is seeking a talented student to undertake research into developing pharmacokinetic methods to optimize the treatments of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and prevent the emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). There is a particular focus on gonorrhoea as this considered a global threat by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Centre has one scholarship for an appropriately qualified student to commence research in 2021.

The Sexual Health Unit


The Centre is offering one scholarship for a student to this research project. You will receive the equivalent of an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship which provides a fortnightly stipend.

Further details on the stipend and scholarship terms are available.

Disclaimer: The benefit amount for this award is approximate. It will be confirmed at the time of awarding and determined by the committee according to the terms of the award.


Applicants are required to meet the University of Melbourne’s requirements for a Research Higher Degree candidature.

Please refer to:https://study.unimelb.edu.au/find/courses/graduate/doctor-of-philosophy-medicine-dentistry-and-health-sciences/entry-requirements/


You will have successfully obtained an Honours or Masters Degree (or equivalent) and you will need to be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or an Australian permanent resident. The project will suit candidates with an undergraduate knowledge of pharmacokinetics, infectious diseases or epidemiology from degrees such as pharmacy, nursing, medicine or similar health or human biology related field.  Postgraduate experience is ideal but not essential.

International students with excellent academic results and high proficiency in English (IELTS score of 7 or more overall, with a score of at least 7 in writing and at least 6 in reading and speaking) will be considered.


Please complete the Expression of Interest form and send a completed copy, along with your CV, academic transcripts from all prior study and academic references as a single pdf document to Dr Fabian Kong: kongf@unimelb.edu.au.

Expression of Interest. (DOCX 58.4 KB)


For further enquiries please contact Dr Kong.

Email: kongf@unimelb.edu.au

More information

This PhD is part of a three-year National Health and Medical Research Council grant which aims to determine the pharmacokinetic (PK) properties of currently used treatment for STIs in the mouth (oropharynx and saliva) and rectum and to use this information to optimize treatments. STI rates globally are increasing annually and treatments are becoming less effective. This is particularly worrying for gonorrhea where treatment failures are increasing due to multi-drug resistance in the face of no new treatments likely to be marketed in the short to medium term. Therefore, clinicians need to optimize past and current treatments and using pharmacokinetics is one way to achieve this. This project is in partnership with Monash University (Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences), University Queensland (Centre for REdefining antimicrobial use to reDUce resistance), Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC), Doherty Institute and the World Health Organisation.

This project will involve:

  • Managing the recruitment, data management (collection, storage and analysis) and ethical conduct of the main study based at MSHC.
  • Development of sampling methods to provide robust PK data from biological tissue and fluids such as blood, tissue and saliva including measuring the effects of pH on drug concentrations.
  • Undertaking literature reviews and meta-analysis methods to understand current gaps in PK knowledge related to STI treatments
  • Inform PK considerations in the study design for STI treatment trials

This PhD will require close collaboration with MSHC staff and project partners. This project is based in Melbourne, Victoria Australia.

Scholarship Management


Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences


Population and Global Health

Department / Centre