Student project opportunities


Students form an integral part of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research which is Western Australia’s premier adult medical research institute.

With more than 200 staff and students, our mission is to improve the health of Western Australians through cutting edge research that translates into new ways to prevent and treat disease.

Our research focuses on the major diseases that face Western Australians today including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity, ageing and nerve and muscle disease.

We provide project opportunities for students from any university enrolled in degrees including:
• Bachelor of Engineering with Honours
• Bachelor of Science with Honours

• Bachelor of Biomedical Science

• Relevant masters programs
• PhD studies

New facilities, test technology

We have entered an exciting new era with our two new research centres at Nedlands and Murdoch. The new buildings combine the talent, technology and facilities available for medical research in Western Australia and enable greater collaboration between many of the State’s major research groups.

The building at Nedlands, the main headquarters of the Perkins, is located at the QEII Medical Centre. The building at Murdoch is located on the Fiona Stanley Hospital campus.

Studying with us

Student scholarships

With new facilities, the latest technology and many opportunities for formal and informal collaboration it is an exciting time to study at the Perkins. We have entered a new era with our two new research centres at Nedlands and Murdoch. The building at Nedlands, the main headquarters of the Perkins, is located at the QEII Medical Centre.

Scholarships and awards
Various scholarships and awards are available. For further information see scholarships

Project opportunities
See below the project opportunities offered in 2019/2020. 

Cancer and cell biology

Cancer Epigenetics Labor
Laboratory Head: Associate Professor Pilar Blancafort
Project 1: Development of a novel strategy using engineered peptides to selectively sensitise metastatic breast cancers to chemotherapy agents
Project 2: Engineering the cancer epigenome and targeting metastatic behaviour using CRISPR/Cas9
Project 3: Discovery and characterisation of new oncogenic drivers in breast cancer

Cell Signalling Laboratory

Laboratory Head: Associate Professor Evan Ingley
Project 1: Hitting the off-switch to stop cancer cells spreading - Control of migration and invasion by the invadopodia regulator AFAP1L1 in sarcoma
Project 2: Personalized Medicine for Sarcoma Patients - Using next-generation sequencing and bioinformatic analysis to match the most effective chemotherapy to each sarcoma patient
Project 3: Improving the quality of blood during storage and transfusion for cancer patients - Investigating the role of tyrosine kinases in regulating the integrity and longevity of red blood cells

Laboratory for Cancer Medicine

Laboratory Head: Professor Peter Leedman

For further information

Systems Biology and Genomics Laboratory

  • Enhancer elements in human disease
  • Single-cell transcriptomics
  • Multicellularity and disease
  • ZENBU Genome browser – data visualisation, statistics, peer-to-peer, cloud, integration
  • General call – Systems Biology, genomics, transcriptomics and bioinformatics

Targeted Drug Delivery, Imaging and Therapy Laboratory

  • Designing targeted nanoparticle delivery for diagnostic imaging of cancers
  • Developing recombinant proteins for tumour-specific delivery

Vascular Biology and Stromal Targeting Laboratory

  • Analysing the “Blood-Tumour”-Barrier


Clinical science

Centre for Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine

Laboratory Head: Professor Daniel Fatovich

Project 1: Relationship between fluid resuscitation and the endothelium in sepsis

Project 2: Anaphylaxis and Snakebite: Mechanisms of activation of immune cells by antivenoms

Project 3: MicroRNAs as biomarkers for the diagnosis of critical illness

Project 4: Unravelling the association between delirium and attendance by older people from aged care to the emergency department

Project 5: Creating a 3-D blood vessel-on-a-chip: investigating vascular responses in critical illness.

Bioimaging Research and Innovation for Translational Engineering Laboratory
Laboratory Head: Dr Brendan Kennedy
For further information

Translational Renal Research Laboratory

Laboratory Head: Dr Aron Chakera

Project 1: Developing novel diagnostics for the earlier detection and treatment of peritonitis

Project 2: The role of mesothelial cells in peritoneal- dialysis associated peritonitis

Project 3: Understanding bacterial factors that predict more severe disease

Project 4: Using peritoneal dialysis as a uniquely accessible human system to study host-pathogen interactions linked to standardized clinical outcomes 

Centre for Diabetes Research

  • Genetic analyses of type 1 diabetes
  • Finding a cure for diabetic retinopathy
  • Identifying who is most likely to die from heart disease
  • Identifying genetic signatures of high-risk cancer

Vascular Engineering Laboratory

Laboratory Head: Dr Barry Doyle

For further information please visit us here

Molecular medicine

Epigenetics and Genomics Laboratory

Laboratory Head: Professor Ryan Lister

Project 1: Developing new molecular tools to edit the epigenome

Project 2: Investigating epigenome reconfiguration during learning and memory

Project 3: Artificial manipulation of human cell identity

Molecular Endocrinology and Pharmacology Laboratory

Laboratory Head: Professor Kevin Pfleger

Project 1: Investigation of G Protein-Coupled Receptor Molecular Pharmacology

Mitochondrial Medicine and Biology Laboratory

Laboratory Head: Professor Aleksandra Filipovska

Project 1: Energy dysfunction in prostate cancer

Project 2: The role of metabolism in obesity and insulin resistance

Project 3: Characterising the pathology of heart disease

Project 4: Developing new models of disease using CRISPR/ Cas technologies

Project 5: The role of protein syntheses in health and disease

Neurogenetic Diseases Laboratory

Laboratory Head: Professor Nigel Laing AO

Project 1: Disease gene discovery

Project 2: Devising and evaluating therapies for neurogenetic diseases

Synthetic Biology and Drug Discovery Laboratory

Laboratory Head: Professor Oliver Rackham

Project 1: Beyond CRISPR-Cas9: new tools to manipulate genes

Project 2: Mitochondrial protein synthesis – a master regulator of disease?

Project 3: Using synthetic biology to create new therapeutics

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