Stress hormones and Alzheimer’s disease

Investigating stress-related therapeutic targets for Alzheimer’s disease in human neuronal cells

Degree type


Closing date

10 October 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Stressful experiences profoundly impact the brain across the lifespan and are known to increase risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia. Therapeutic strategies which target stress hormone signaling in the brain hold promise for preventing or slowing progression of AD. Development of these therapies is hampered by uncertainty about how stress hormone signalling pathways interact with putative mechanisms of AD pathology in the human brain. This project addresses this gap in our knowledge using molecular techniques in human neuronal cells. Our lab employs two human cell models- olfactory neurosphere cells (harvested from the olfactory neuroepithelium of adult donors) and neurons derived from adult induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). This project will employ cellular, molecular and functional assays to determine how peptides, proteins and/or gene mutations associated with AD pathology influence the intracellular stress hormone signalling pathways, and vice versa. It will also explore whether bioactive compounds can modify interactions between stress hormone signalling and AD-related proteins to promote health and survival of human neuronal cells exposed to stress hormones. This will shed light on the relationship between stress hormones and Alzheimer’s disease pathology, building new knowledge as we strive to promote healthy brain aging and prevent dementia.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Duncan Sinclair


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 $28,854 per annum (2022 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.


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

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

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 essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Laboratory based research skills

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Duncan Sinclair to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. 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 2 x 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 by the advertised outcome date.

Apply now Explore other projects

Why the University of Tasmania?

Worldwide reputation for research excellence

Quality supervision and support

Tasmania offers a unique study lifestyle experience