Available PhD Projects

Projects Available to QUT PhD Scholarship Applicants



PhD Project: Studying Group B Streptococcus 

with Dr Alison Carey and Dr Elise Pelzer

We are looking for highly motivated PhD candidates to join our dynamic research team at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) to carry out cutting-edge research in the field of female genital tract infections during pregnancy in 2022. The selected applicant would be expected to apply for entry in the QUT PhD program and the HDR scholarship round, closing 8th September 2021.

The project

Group B Streptococcus (GBS; Streptococcus agalactiae) is a leading pathogen that is responsible for neonatal meningitis and sepsis. Up to 40% of pregnant women have asymptomatic vaginal colonisation, and this can lead to chorioamnionitis, premature rupture of membranes and urinary tract infections, while vertical transmission from mother to baby can cause pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis and death of the neonate. There is increasing evidence that reproductive tract coinfections with GBS are occurring (eg. HSV, Candida albicans, Mycoplasma spp.), and may contribute to poor pregnancy and neonatal outcomes. This project is planned to build upon a substantial amount of data that the QUT supervisors have already generated from the QLD Family Cohort pilot study, completed with collaborators at Mater Research and Mater Hospital.

Aim 1: Develop GBS serotyping, Ureaplasma spp. Mycoplasma spp. high resolution melt PCR assays to identify infected vaginal and placental specimens and determine antimicrobial resistance patterns.

Aim 2: To identify mothers that are coinfected (vaginal or placental) with GBS and Mycoplasma spp./Ureaplasma spp. and determine maternal and neonatal outcomes.

Aim 3: To compare the vaginal microbiome and placental microbial DNA signatures in women who are coinfected with GBS and Mycoplasma spp./Ureaplasma spp. to healthy mothers.

QUT supervisors:

  • Dr Alison Carey (QFC Immunology Theme Leader)
  • Dr Elise Pelzer (QFC Microbiome Theme Leader)

UQ supervisors: Dr Emma Sweeney, Dr Jacob Tickner

Mater Research supervisor: Prof. Vicki Clifton (QFC Project leader)

Skills & Experience: The ideal candidate would have experience in microbiology, molecular biology and bioinformatics.

Keywords: Group B Streptococcus, pregnancy, molecular microbiology, microbiome.

Interested applicants are welcome to contact Dr Alison Carey at alison.carey@qut.edu.au