Structural variants and CVD

Structural variants and their role in cardiovascular disease

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death internationally as well as in Australia. Increased risk for cardiovascular disease is known to have a large genetic component and there is an increased understanding that rare structural variants may play an important role in its development. Structural variants rearrange large genomic regions and are known to be involved in the development of several complex diseases. These regions can include inversions, balanced translocations, or genomic imbalances (insertions or deletions) commonly referred to as copy number variants. However, the understanding of their role in the development of cardiovascular disease is unclear. This project leverages high-resolution bioinformatic methods for identifying structural variation and their association with cardiovascular disease.

This project will involve bioinformatic analysis of approximately 1000 whole-genome sequences and their association with cardiovascular disease and associated clinical risk factors in a large Australian family cohort. Advanced computation biology and bioinformatic skill will be used to identify structural variants with cardiovascular disease and leverage these findings with international cohorts to assess their validity.

The candidate can expect to gain advanced skills in sequence and bioinformatic analysis of whole-genome data. This project can be tailored to suit the interests of the application focusing on bioinformatics or advanced genetic epidemiological analysis, or a combination of both.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Phillip Melton


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.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


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:

  • 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 desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • The project is open to domestic and International candidates
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a first-class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in genomics
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and statistical skills
  • Previous experience with the R statistical package and Linux operating systems

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Phillip Melton 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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