PhD scholarship in developing animal-human inhalation exposure toxicity extrapolation schemes

This project will explore nanoparticles inhalation exposure characteristics both in animal and human upper airways, develop region-specific animal to human data extrapolation schemes, and build an inhalation exposure risk assessment platform through cross-discipline integrations.

Candidate needs to have a strong background in either fluid mechanics, data analysis, image processing or pattern recognition fields, and hold an undergraduate qualification in Mechanical Engineering or related tertiary qualifications.

The successful candidate will be supervised by an ARC DRCRA fellow and actively focus on conducting virtual inhalation exposure studies in animal and human nasal cavities, model validation, and other research activities as required through cross-discipline integrations.

PhD stipend to the value of $30,000 AUD per year for 3 years.

Applicants should hold a four year Honours or Masters degree in mechanical engineering, physics, applied mathematics, or in relevant disciplines.

Candidates with a background in fluid mechanics, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), image processing\visualisation, large data set analysis and data modelling are encouraged to apply. Prior research and publication experience and excellent communication skills are highly desired.

To be eligible for this scholarship you must:

  • Have a first-class Honours or equivalent in a relevant discipline, or a Masters by Research degree in mechanical engineering, physics, applied mathematics, or in relevant disciplines
  • Provide evidence of adequate oral and written communication skills
  • Meet RMIT University’s entry requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy.

Both domestic and international prospective applicants are encouraged to apply.

To apply, please submit the following documents to Dr. Jingliang Dong (

  • Current CV, including the contact details of two referees
  • Electronic of academic transcripts
  • A statement to outline your research interest and capabilities.

Scholarship applications will only be successful if prospective candidates are provided with an offer for admission.

Applications are open now.

Applications will close once a candidate is appointed with intention to start in March 2021.

Currently, controlled exposure experiments using animal surrogates and cell culture are widely adopted approaches to determine the hazard effects of airborne substances. Animals used in toxicity studies span a wide diversity, typically including rats, mice, rabbits, dogs, sheep and nonhuman primates. To obtain toxic response in a practicable way, massive quantities of test substance were often applied on animal or cell culture models in previous studies. Consequently, most exposure-responses findings were obtained upon delivery of unrealistically high doses, which disregard the basic physical laws of particle inhalation and deposition and cannot represent realistic inhalation exposure conditions.

This project aims to remove the long-lasting barrier in extrapolating data from animals to humans by developing an integrated virtual platform. This project expects to fully resolve inhalation exposure differences in nasal airways between commonly used animal surrogates and humans, which could lay scientific underpinnings in developing rigorous interspecies data conversion schemes. Expected outcomes include a versatile inhalation exposure risk assessment tool that can be implemented for any airway compartment, enhanced reliability of animal tests, and reduced number of animals for testing. This should provide significant benefits in improving occupational health and safety and promoting national/international regulatory changes.

This project is multidisciplinary, requiring knowledge of multi-scale fluid-particle dynamics, human/animal airway reconstruction, computational programming, visualisation, data analysis and cross team collaborations. The project provides an excellent opportunity for high level multi-disciplinary research.

This scholarship will be governed by RMIT University's Research Scholarship Terms and Conditions.

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.