PhD scholarship in nanosensors for foodborne pathogens

Nanosensors for rapid on-site detection of foodborne pathogens to ensure food safety.

This PhD scholarship is attached to an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery project. The project will develop a robust nanosensor technology for the rapid detection of foodborne pathogens while understanding nano-biomolecular interactions.

The University will fund the Scholarship for a fixed term of 3 years offering a stipend of $33,826 per annum pro rata (full-time study).

Applications now open. 

31st December 2023

Three scholarships available.

To be considered for the PhD Scholarship, applicants must hold or be currently completing: 

  • a Master by research
  • a Master by coursework with a significant research component graded as high distinction, or equivalent
  • a Honours degree achieving first class honours
  • a 4 year bachelor degree achieving a GPA of 4 or equivalent (80% or above)

If you do not hold one of the above qualifications, you will only be considered for scholarship if you have previous publications or significant research experience or relevant industry experience. 

Before applying for the Scholarship, contact Professor Vipul Bansal and establish if your research is aligned.

Further details on RMIT University’s research strategy can be found here

All applicants should email the following to Professor Vipul Bansal,

  • a cover letter, this should detail the alignment of your prior research experience with the advertised project,
  • your Curriculum Vitae, and
  • a one-to-two-page research proposal. The research proposal is a key part of the application process where applicants must demonstrate the value of their research and their suitability for scholarship selection. Your proposal should be divided under the following headings:
    1. Title and topic
    2. Research questions you plan to investigate in the context of existing research/literature in the area
    3. Significance and impact of the research
    4. Methodology/research tasks required to undertake the research.

This project will develop new color-based biosensing platforms for the rapid, easy-to-use detection of

food pathogens that are of threat to human health and to the Australian agricultural industry.

The color generation in the presence of the target molecule will employ the enzyme-like catalytic activity of the nanoparticles (NanoZyme) while the ability to specifically detect the target analyte will be achieved by combining the NanoZymes with different aptamers (ssDNA). The PhD scholar will be involved in (i) developing new chemical synthesis strategies to fabricate different nanomaterials with control over their size, shape, and compositions, (ii) using a number of high-end techniques to characterize the properties of nanoparticles, (iii) assess the enzyme-like catalytic property of nanomaterials to determine reaction kinetic parameters, (iv) combine the NanoZymes with aptamers through covalent and non-covalent interactions and (v) create biosensor and diagnostic platforms for the detection of environmental pollutants, food, and clinically relevant pathogens. The PhD scholar will be based at the RMIT city campus and work collaboratively in a highly cross-disciplinary environment. The project is likely to involve our existing and new industry partners, including Australian Biosecurity agencies who are interested in this research. The project also offers collaboration opportunities with international researchers. 

The PhD scholar will use specialized techniques including microscopy (SEM, TEM, HRTEM); spectroscopy (absorbance, fluorescence, FTIR, EDX, XPS); crystallography (XRD); statistical analysis (cluster tools, discriminant tools, regression analysis) and color assessment for quantifying the sensor response using a simple mobile phone camera. Overall, this project will provide highly cross-disciplinary training across materials science, nanotechnology, chemistry, cell biology, and biochemistry along with several high-quality publications. 

Please contact Professor Vipul Bansal,

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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.