Familial interstitial lung disease genes

Identifying and understanding genes that contribute to familial interstitial lung disease (ILD)

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a group of disorders characterised by chronic lung inflammation and/or fibrosis. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is one of the most common and devastating forms of ILD and is frequently diagnosed at an advanced stage, when patients have a life-expectancy of 2-3 years. It is becoming increasingly apparent that genetic factors contribute significantly to risk of developing IPF and related ILDs, but we are yet to identify the full spectrum of variants and genes involved. Further, we do not understand how defects in the functioning of these genes contribute to disease pathology, how these genes interact with environmental factors, and how they influence response to treatment.

To better understand the role of genetics in disease causation the national Genetic Research in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (GRIPF) Study was established at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research. This study aims to generate a clinically annotated genetic resource comprising families with multiple cases of IPF/ILD as well as a case control cohort of individuals with a strong family of IPF/ILD and unaffected controls. The GRIPF study is part of a larger national and international initiative seeking to improve outcomes for patients through understanding the genetic basis of ILDs. This project will involve the application of genomics methodologies and bioinformatic tools to facilitate novel gene and variant discovery in families and individuals with whole genome sequencing data. In addition, this project will involve laboratory-based techniques such as cell culture and in vitro functional studies designed to assess the impact of candidate variants on protein function to determine how they might contribute to disease.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Sionne Lucas


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 $31,500 per annum (2023 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.

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applications are available to onshore applicants only
  • 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.

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Sionne Lucas to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • 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.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 25 September 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the 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.

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