Undergraduate Programs

IMB offers a range of opportunities for undergraduate students, whether you are enrolled at UQ or elsewhere, advance your studies and contribute to the world-leading discoveries of the institute.

Undergraduates may be eligible for the Director's Award for Research Training (DART).

IMB supports the UQ Winter Research Program, allowing exceptional students the opportunity to gain valuable research experience working alongside some of the university’s leading academics and researchers. Participation will extend your knowledge of an area of interest and develop your analytical, critical thinking and communication skills.

IMB Undergraduate Research Projects are available in select IMB Research Groups for a duration between 3-4 weeks over the winter vacation period, now commencing 13 July 2020.

For eligibility criteria, additional information and to submit your application, please see the UQ Student Employability Centre website.

For a summary of the type of research undertaken by each IMB group, please visit the IMB Research Groups website.

Available Projects for Winter 2020

Project title: 

Regulation of liver physiology by circadian and feeding rhythms

 

Project duration:

3-4 weeks

 

Description:

This project aims at characterizing the molecular mechanism involved in the circadian regulation of protein secretion by the liver by circadian and feeding rhythms. The student will participate to omics data analysis to develop hypothesis and use classical biochemistry techniques on samples from mouse tissue or cultured cells to confirm the signalling pathways involved in this regulation.

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

The student will gain knowledge in data analysis and physiology and develop skills and technical expertise in biochemistry and molecular biology.

 

Suitable for:

Considering the multidisciplinary background of the project (physiology, molecular biology, biochemistry and data analysis), any science student (after 2nd year) could be interested by the project.

Primary Supervisor:

 

Associate Professor Frederic Gachon

 

Further info:

https://imb.uq.edu.au/physiology-of-circadian-rhythms

f.gachon@imb.uq.edu.au

Tel: 0428 579 696

 

 

Project title: 

Sequence similarity of N- and C-domains of the angiotensin converting enzyme in different ancestries

 

Project duration:

3-4 weeks

 

Description:

Background:

The angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) is a component of the renin-angiotensin system which regulates blood pressure and is a target for anti-hypertensive medication (ACE inhibitors). ACE contains two homologous domains (C- and N-domain) with high sequence similarity, each bearing a catalytic site, that have been demonstrated to have differential enzymatic activities. The C-terminal domain is thought to mainly regulate blood pressure by cleaving angiotensin 1, while the N-terminal domain is thought to have multiple different substrates, including neuropeptides.

 

The efficacy and occurrence of adverse side-effects due to treatment with ACE-inhibitors appears to be different amongst difference ancestries.

 

Hypothesis:

Most ACE inhibitors bind both domains. If sequence similarity is much greater in one ancestry than it’s likely the drug will inhibit both domains and therefore be more efficacious and possibly cause more side effects.

 

Aim:

Use exome sequence data in UK Biobank and Gnomad to investigate to what extent the sequence and therefore structure of the 2 domains of the angiotensin converting enzyme differ in different ancestries.

 

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

Application of bioinformatics skills such as analysis of exome sequence data, and the opportunity to generate a publication from their research.  Presentation of project results to the group at the end of the project.

Suitable for:

Students with experience in bioinformatics, particularly DNA and protein sequence analysis and analysis of next generation sequence data.

Primary Supervisor:

 

Dr Sonia Shah

 

Further info:

Please contact for further discussion s.shah1@uq.edu.au

 

 

Project title: 

Understanding the mechanism of GPCRs signalling

 

Project duration:

3-4 weeks

 

Description:

G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the most common signal-transducing proteins on the cell surface and the most common targets of human therapeutics. Certain GPCRs are overexpressed in chronic inflammatory diseases and cancers, which can be targeted in drug discovery. GPCR signalling is complex in that compounds can affect some signalling pathways but not others (biased signalling), bind to remote sites but still affect activity (allosteric interactions), or affect G-protein independent signalling. This winter research project will involve characterizing novel ligands and signalling pathways to fine-tune control over GPCR signalling and cell functions associated with disease.

 

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

The student will learn to perform cell culture, signalling assays, biochemical techniques and basic statistical analyses.

 

Suitable for:

This project is open to applications for UQ enrolled 3-4 year student with background in pharmacology, biology, immunology or biochemistry.

Primary Supervisor:

 

Dr James Lim

 

Further info:

Please see http://fairlie.imb.uq.edu.au/ for more information.

 

 

Project title: 

Cellular permeability of small structured peptides

 

Project duration:

3-4 weeks

 

Description:

Small structured peptides have countless applications in biology if they could selectively enter cells and specifically inhibit the protein of interest. These small structured peptides permeate cell membrane by several mechanisms including endocytosis, membrane translocation or macropincytosis. This winter research project will investigate novel small structured peptides for cellular permeability in a range of cancer cells with the possibility of discovering of new therapeutics.

 

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

The student will learn to perform cell culture, flow cytometry, biochemical techniques and basic statistical analyses.

 

Suitable for:

This project is open to applications for UQ enrolled 3-4 year student with background in pharmacology, biology, immunology or biochemistry.

Primary Supervisor:

 

Dr James Lim

 

Further info:

Please see http://fairlie.imb.uq.edu.au/ for more information.

 

 

Project title: 

Improvement of water quality by applying silver products

 

Project duration:

3-4 weeks

 

 

Description:

Background: Growing industrialization and various other human activities have led to the reducing of clean water resources. The ever-increasing demand for hygienic water has prompted the development of technologies that can be used for treating polluted water. Many water-borne diseases are a result of blooming microbial populations in water. Over the years, conventional methods for water purification that prevent microbial growth, such as chlorination, ozonation etc., have limitations owing to the formation of disinfection by-products which are carcinogenic in nature. It is therefore vital to develop effective and low-cost technologies that address the problem.

 

Hypothesis: Various silver products can be applied and use as a bactericidal agent to improve the water quality.

 

Aim: To identify an effective concentration of silver ion solutions against common bacteria in wastewater.

 

Approach: A model consisting of artificial sweat mixture liquid and sterile water will be used for sampling of three common wastewater bacteria, P. aeruginosa, E. coli, and S. aureus. Samples will be collected immediately after the addition of silver, and 2, 4, and 24 hours afterwards.

 

This study will demonstrate the practical use of silver ions as potential disinfection agents in managing water quality.

 

 

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

The successful applicant is expected to produce a report and give an oral presentation. There is a possibility to continue this research as a PhD study in the joint project with the industry.

The generated results from this research can be included in the planned publication in the reputable peer review journal.

 

 

Suitable for:

This project is open to applications from students with a background in chemistry, inorganic chemistry and microbiology, 3-4-year students.

Primary Supervisor:

 

Dr Zyta Ziora

 

Further info:

Email: z.ziora@uq.edu.au

 

 

Project title: 

Biopotency of natural extracts

 

Project duration:

3-4 weeks

 

 

Description:

Background: Higher plants are suitable for exploration as a source of novel drug candidates. Among the reported 250,000–500,000 plant species, relatively few have been evaluated for screening and isolation of bioactive compounds. Many natural products show an excellent activity in anti-fungal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-malarial as well as antimicrobial studies reported in the literature.

 

Hypothesis: The extracts or retrieved compounds from fruits are now the target of advanced research for novel antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory drug development.  

 

Aim: To evaluate in in vitro an antioxidant and anti-microbial activities of fruit extracts, their fractions.

 

Approach: The dried fruit powder will be washed with organic solvent and then dried and sequentially fractionated with dichloromethane (100%), methanol (100%), and finally 50% methanol (50% v/v MeOH: H2O).  Fractionation will be performed using HPLC, followed by LC-ESI-MS/MS analysis to identify the bioactive. In vitro antioxidant and anti-microbial activities of these extracts will be evaluated.

 

Findings from this research will demonstrated that fruit extracts and their subsequent fractions are a rich source of bioactive compounds that are worthy of further investigation as leads for drug discovery.

 

 

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

The successful applicant is expected to produce a report and give an oral presentation. There is a possibility to continue this research as a PhD study in the joint project with the industry.

The generated results from this research can be included in the planned publication in the reputable peer review journal.

 

 

Suitable for:

This project is open to applications from students with a background in chemistry, 3-4-year students.

Primary Supervisor:

 

Dr Zyta Ziora

 

Further info:

Email: z.ziora@uq.edu.au

 

 

IMB supports the UQ Summer Research Program, allowing exceptional students the opportunity to gain valuable research experience working alongside some of the university’s leading academics and researchers. Participation will extend your knowledge of an area of interest and develop your analytical, critical thinking and communication skills.

Information regarding the 2020-2021 program will be available later this year.