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PhD Opportunities

At IPAN, we think of our PhD students as the research stars of the future. We are committed to offering our PhD students a supportive, positive and successful path to achieving their PhD. Find out about PhD opportunities at IPAN, and hear from past and present students and supervisors about their experiences.

Opportunities are currently available for domestic and international students currently residing in Australia.

 

Understanding school lunches in Victorian primary or secondary schools

This project aims to examine the school food environment and current school lunch practices in Victorian schools to better understand the perceptions, enablers, barriers and perceived healthiness of school lunches.

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Manipulating the slow motor neuron environment as a strategy to attenuate the progression of motor neuron disease (MND)

The aim of this project is to determine if the onset and progression of MND can be reduced through pharmacological and gene therapy that promotes a slow MN environment in mouse and cell models.

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Establishing the effect of skeletal muscle TDP-43 accumulation on muscle function, regeneration and exercise capacity

This PhD project aims to understand the role of skeletal muscle TDP-43 accumulation in the development of neuromuscular diseases, muscle regeneration and adaptation to exercise.

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Young people’s dietary intake and nutritional status when adopting different plant-based diets (VeggiSkills Australia)

This project aims to obtain knowledge about the dietary intake, nutritional status and body composition of young people adhering to plant-based diets of different strictness. Also, to understand young peoples´ food literacy, attitudes, and behaviours in relation to plant-based diets, and specifically which factors impact the adherence to sustainable plant-based diets.

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Equity in implementation and scale-up of population physical activity and nutrition interventions targeting infants and children

This project aims to identify factors and strategies that impact the implementation and scaling up of population physical activity and nutrition interventions targeting infants and children, and how these contribute to impacting equity in health.

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HDR Scholarship – Implementing “sit less, move more” in healthcare

Physical activity is one of the most powerful modifiable risk factors for chronic disease, yet its adoption in Australian healthcare remains low and evidence-based physical activity interventions have rarely been implemented in primary care and clinical settings. There is an opportunity for a PhD student to join the Baker-Deakin Department of Lifestyle and Diabetes for this scholarship opportunity to implement and evaluate a “sit less, move more” intervention within the healthcare setting.

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HDR Scholarship – Health impact of working from home

The new “working from home” model has created much needed flexibility for workers in the face of COVID restrictions. However, it has also cut opportunities for active commuting, incidental physical activity, and social interaction associated with face-to-face meetings. It is unknown what the toll of this will be on metabolic and cognitive health. This PhD scholarship opportunity, with the Baker-Deakin Department of Lifestyle and Diabetes, will investigate whether the working from home model poses a health risk to portions of the population due to changes in the pattern of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and social interaction throughout the day.

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Implementation and scale-up of interventions targeting physical activity, nutrition and sleep: An exploration of leverage points and strategies

The aim of this project is to identify leverage points and strategies that relate to, and may enhance, implementation and scale-up of interventions population wide. The project will also lead to the development of an evidence-based resource on leverage points and strategies that can assist others wishing to scale public health interventions in the future.

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Physical activity engagement by LGBTQI+ people

This project aims to examine the physical activity levels of LGBTQI+ people and to identify what factors are associated with their activity.

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HDR Scholarship – Reducing drowning: understanding factors which contribute to risk and targeting those at risk

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Understanding implementation outcomes of INFANT to support the promotion of healthy eating and active play from the start of life

The 'Infant Feeding, Nutrition and Active Play' (INFANT) program is based on more than 10 years of research at IPAN. This opportunity provides opportunities to explore the major knowledge gap in the evaluation of implementation outcomes of an evidence-based early life behavioural intervention when delivered at scale.

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Can dietary supplementation with Krill-Oil improve ME/CFS symptoms?

We are exploring the impact of krill oil supplementation on symptoms of fatigue and pain in patients with CFS/ME.

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Understanding resistance to sustainable travel

This PhD project will explore community resistance to policies and initiatives that promote and support sustainable travel (walking, cycling and public transport).

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Can exercise training improve intervertebral disc health?

The overall aim of this PhD is to explore whether exercise training can improve intervertebral disc health and reduce the burden associated with low back pain.

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Understanding school food literacy education in Australia and internationally

This PhD is part of an international project investigating school food and nutrition environments and exploring different approaches to food literacy education in primary and secondary schools, and involves developing sustainable professional development programs for teachers in food and nutrition education.

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A Smart-Heart ecosystem to improve self-management behaviours in people with heart failure

As part of an NHMRC-funded IDEAS grant, we are seeking PhD candidates to join the digital health team to design, develop and evaluate a Smart-Heart ecosystem to support self-management for people living with heart failure.

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Engaging with the public to prevent dementia

This project will focus on how to engage Australian adults, across a range of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, to reduce dementia risk

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Using novel telehealth strategies to change the delivery of nutrition care in community living older adults with malnutrition

This PhD project aims to determine whether personalised dietetic interventions delivered via telehealth are effective for improving dietary intake (including energy and protein intake), nutritional outcomes (including weight, BMI and hand grip strength), as well as measures of sarcopenia and quality of life.

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Perceptions of personalised nutrition among stakeholders

Personalised nutrition involves leveraging human variability to provide tailored dietary advice to optimise heath. It is also one of the four pillars of the decadal plan for the science of nutrition in Australia. Using the biological and behavioural characteristics of a person to design dietary messaging may be more effective for improving dietary patterns than “one size fits all” approaches. However, our understanding of how to design and implement personalised nutrition approaches is limited.

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Information Technology for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease

Patients with CVD require support at home and out of hospital settings where they spent most of their time. However, such interventions are often difficult to implement and expensive. Using information technology, we aim to improve risk factors monitoring, self-management and develop a new model-of-care for secondary prevention of CVD in Australia and globally.

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Understanding healthy fat consumption in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus

Diet is one of the cornerstones of type 2 diabetes management and healthy dietary fats are known to provide several metabolic benefits. However, the relationship between recommendations from healthcare professionals, patients’ perceptions and consumption of healthy fats is not well understood.

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Exploring how exercise, oxidative stress and antioxidant treatment regulate insulin action in type 2 diabetes mellitus

The impact to society and health implications of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2D) are well-characterised, yet the specific mechanisms behind T2D development, disease progression, and treatment strategies targeting the root aetiology remain elusive. Excess oxidative stress has been linked to impaired insulin action (the body’s ability to respond to insulin and metabolise glucose) and the subsequent development of T2D.

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Using the Youth Activity Profile tool to determine just how active children really are

It is important for government, schools, teachers, parents and others to capture accurate estimates of children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour in Australia. It is also of benefit to compare how Australian children are tracking compared to other countries such as the US, UK and Europe. The Youth Activity Profile (YAP) has been shown to accurately estimate US primary school children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour and provides the potential to monitor compliance with physical activity guidelines.

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Cognition and Ageing

Cognitive frailty is an emerging concept which refers to the presence of both frailty and cognitive impairment. Currently the mechanisms which may link cognitive impairment to physical decline in muscle mass, strength and function are poorly understood. This project aims to improve our understanding of the risk factors and underlying physiological changes which contribute to concurrent decline to brain health and mobility.

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Is park visitation associated with reduced stress levels?

We are currently undertaking research on park visitation in urban environments and we are interested in measuring the impact of park visitation on stress levels.  In this project, the PhD student will start by undertaking a systematic review of the literature on the impact of exposure to natural outdoor environments on physiological and psychological stress levels.  The student will then design and conduct one or more experiments among park users.

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Improving management of debilitating spinal pain

This project will investigate the effect of contextual factors for reducing pain and disability in adults with chronic non-specific low back pain attending exercise therapy.

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Novel telehealth approaches for delivering lifestyle programs for older adults with chronic disease

A number of chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and sarcopenia (the age-related decline in skeletal muscle mass and function), contribute to loss of independence and poor quality of life in older adults. Current guidelines endorse the prescription of exercise and nutrition interventions to maintain health and independence, however older adults with chronic diseases are among the least likely to engage in these recommendations.

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