Stimulating the vagus peripheral nerve interface is used clinically for treatment of numerous human diseases (epilepsy, heart failure, obesity etc). As such, the effects of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) are diverse and have created considerable interest in the clinical community.
At the Bionics Institute, we have developed and validated an electrode array for long-term implantation onto the abdominal vagus nerve of rats and sheep. This technology is now entering clinical trials for the treatment of Crohn’s disease. There are numerous mouse genetic models of human diseases, which are an essential tool for understanding mechanisms of disease, and discovering new therapies. The overall goal of this project is to expand our vagus nerve stimulation technology and adapt it to awake, freely moving mice.
The outcomes of this research will be to develop, manufacture and validate the safety and efficacy of a peripheral nerve interface array in a mouse disease model.
Value and duration
3 years with a possibility of extension to 3.5 years
$32,714 per annum for a student stipend (Total for 3.5 year term = $114,500)
Number of scholarships
One scholarship is available.
To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must:
- have first-class honours or equivalent in a relevant discipline of bioengineering or electrical engineering
- be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an international student meeting the minimum English language requirements;
- provide evidence of good oral and written communication skills;
- demonstrate the ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary research team;
- meet RMIT’s entry requirements for PhD
How to apply
- a cover letter (research statement)
- a copy of electronic academic transcripts
- a CV that includes any publications/awards and the contact details of 2 referees.
For international applicants, evidence of English proficiency may be required.
The research is aimed at developing technology for use in mice. As such, some degree of rodent handling and exposure is required for this project.
Principal supervisor Dr. Sophie Payne has extensive experience in chronic vagus nerve stimulation, autonomic neuroscience and animal disease models and will lead the over project.
Co-supervisor Mr. Owen Burns is an experienced mechanical engineer that designed the original vagus nerve arrays and will provide expertise in fabrication and manufacture of the device.
A/Prof Elisa Hill will provide expertise in mice disease models, with a particular focus on Autism and Inflammatory Bowel disease. Facilities at the Bionics Institute will allow rapid prototyping and fabrication of electrode arrays in house.