Research Supervisor Connect

New approaches to treating sick koalas


Koalas are iconic Australian marsupials. Unfortunately many wild koalas become infected with bacterial and fungal diseases. Current medication regimens for treating infectious diseases frequently do not resolve the infections and the animals usually need to be euthanased or the treatment itself can kill the animals. There is a great need to look for better ways of treating infectious disease to ensure the survival of this species. 
This project will take fresh approaches to treating infectious disease in koalas. This project involves investigation into how koalas’ diet may be used to prevent or minimise infections and a new approaches by which to kill infectious pathogens will be compared to existing medications. 


Associate Professor Merran Govendir.

Research location

Sydney School of Veterinary Science

Program type



Applicants will be expected to have a degree in the biological sciences. It is advantageous, but not essential if they have experience in microbiology and/or pharmacology. 
The successful applicant will be taught the following in-demand laboratory skills of: antimicrobial susceptibility testing, determination of drug concentrations in blood and tissues by liquid chromatography, and in-vitro drug metabolism techniques. 

The project is primarily laboratory based however the applicant will be required to travel to wildlife hospitals to obtain samples (Queensland, Northern NSW and Sydney).
The successful applicant will be supported to become fine academic writers for scientific and general audiences. The successful applicant will be well supported to improve their verbal and visual presentation skills. All completed PhD projects from Dr Govendir’s laboratory have resulted in numerous publications that have improved animal health. 
For a list of her and her students’ publications, please refer to her Academic Profile Online

Additional information

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

Want to find out more?

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2416