HDR Scholarship - A dietary challenge on the epigenetic profile of spermatozoa in twins

Applications now open. A joint PhD scholarship with Deakin University and the University of Copenhagen is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'A dietary challenge on the epigenetic profile of spermatozoa in twins'.

Project Supervisor

A/Prof. Jeffrey Craig

Prof. Romain Barres (University of Copenhagen)


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

This project and scholarship are offered as part of a collaborative joint PhD program with the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by a team of leading researchers from Deakin University and University of Copenhagen and will graduate with a joint PhD from both institutions. The student will spend the first two years in Melbourne and the final year in Copenhagen.

Accumulating evidence supports that paternal nutritional stress before conception is associated with altered phenotype in the next generation. Our team has identified that nutritional stress induces epigenetic changes in spermatozoa (1). While in humans, we and others have described that the sperm epigenome is amenable to weight-loss (2) and endurance training (3) (4), little is known on the effect of nutrition in humans.

We are seeking a PhD candidate to participate in the coordination of a dietary intervention in monozygotic twins to help determine the effect of dietary challenge on the epigenetic profile of spermatozoa. The student will be a member of a multidisciplinary team in close collaboration with the Gametic Epigenetics Consortium Against Obesity (GECKO), a research consortium with contributors in Denmark, Australia, and the USA, and aiming to identify novel strategies to prevent obesity in the next generation offspring.

Ref 1 - de Castro Barbosa et al., Mol. Metab., 2015
Ref 2 - Donkin et al., Cell Metab. 2016
Ref 3 - Denham et al., Epigenomics 2015
Ref 4 - Ingerslev et al., Clin. Epigenetics. 2018

Project aim

The overall aim of the is project is to measure the effect of a dietary intervention on epigenetic state in identical male twins. Specifically, the student will be directly involved in planning and conducting the intervention in partnership with Danish investigators, and will play an active role in analysing the data.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Monday 11 January 2021


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • $28,600 per annum tax exempt (2021 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate or overseas

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be a domestic candidate (domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship).
  • 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.

Additional essential criteria include:

  • A Master's degree in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology or relevant disciplines
  • Entry requirements for the PhD program at the University of Copenhagen's Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences must also be met
  • Additional desirable criteria include:

    • Experience working with clinical trials or human cohorts
    • Solid knowledge in epigenetics and reproductive biology
    • Excellent time-management and organisational skills
    • Excellent communication skills

How to apply

Interested applicants should contact via email A/Prof. Jeffrey Craig before applying for the project. Applicants invited to submit a ful application should follow the instructions on the How to apply page.

Find out more

Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact A/Prof. Jeffrey Craig

A/Prof. Jeffrey Craig
Associate Professor (Faculty of Health)
Email Jeffrey Craig
+61 3 522 78655