Optogenetic and sonogenetic with TRPA1

Novel optogenetic and sonogenetic approach to excite and inhibit neuronal membrane based on TRPA1 channels

Degree type


Closing date

7 March 2022



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

The project is part of the funded (and extended) ARC fellowship (2016-2022) aimed to develop a novel optogenetic and sonogenetic approach to manipulate neuronal membrane excitability. Our laboratory has previously developed novel channelrhodopsin mutants to manipulate neuronal membrane excitability but channelrhodopsins suffer from low conductance and lack spectral separation. Using photosensitising fluorescent proteins or fluorescent dyes and the mammalian membrane channel that can be activated by reactive oxygen species, we have established that it is possible to use light to control membrane excitability with better spectral separation and high efficiency. The project will aim to further validate and characterise the approach, develop ways to deliver the tools using recombinant virus and test whether the approach can be modified to become a multi-modal neuromodulatory approach to control neuronal excitability with ultrasound. This project will develop important and novel tools for general neuroscientific research that address the current shortcomings and limitations of current tools and contribute to the tools available to the international neuroscientific research communities.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr John Lin


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from international applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • The applicant should have strong backgrounds in physics/engineering and chemistry
  • The applicant should have achieved >80% marks in half of their units (or equivalent) in the last 2 years of their undergraduate studies

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr John Lin, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including contact details of two referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email.

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