HDR Scholarship - Degradable silk packing materials for use in ear surgery

Applications now open

A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Degradable silk packing materials for use in ear surgery'.

Project Supervisor


GTP Research


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

Packing materials are widely used in ear surgery, however the current gelatin-based biomaterials have poorly controlled mechanical properties, degradation rate and they can interfere with normal healing. This project will leverage recent advances in silk processing, composition and manufacturing methods to produce devices with potential as packing material, with tuneable mechanical characteristics and degradation rate that may support healing of the ear. The ability to control these parameters promises significant advantages over currently available materials.

The project offers an exciting opportunity to work in a multi-disciplinary team. The candidate will take a lead role in the materials development in conjunction with cell biologists and clinicians within the team. The candidate will work within IFM’s silk research group, which has significant expertise and an international reputation in silk materials research. This is a collaborative project with industry partner, the Ear Science Institute Australia, an internationally renowned research institute focussed on the clinical translation of biomaterials for ear surgery. The project also involves collaboration with Prof David Kaplan of Tufts University, one of the global leaders in the field of silk biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Project aim

This project will address current limitations in the treatment of chronic eardrum perforation and other surgical procedures by developing a functional silk packing material that can better support the healing ear tissues. The student will work with collaborators to develop a range of silk device prototypes and test their mechanical properties and degradation outcomes towards functional endpoints.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Monday 16th September 2019.


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $27,596 per annum tax exempt (2019 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate or overseas
  • International students only: Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for the duration of 4 years

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

How to apply

Please apply using the expression of interest form


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Dr Ben Allardyce

Dr Ben Allardyce
Research Fellow
Email Ben Allardyce
+61 3 5227 2436