Infectious Diseases PhD program

Program Summary

The Department of Infectious Diseases, Alfred Hospital and Monash University is a world-leading clinical care and research centre that specialises in the fields of HIV medicine, Infections in Immunocompromised Hosts, Infections in the Intensive Care Unit, Hospital-associated Infections and Epidemiology, Antibiotic Resistance and Pathogenesis, Surgical Site Infections, Influenza, Viral Hepatitis, and International Public Health.

The Department of Infectious Diseases is committed to basic and clinical research that fosters innovation and strives for improvements in patient outcomes. As part of this commitment, the department offers a formalised PhD Program. This competitive program provides a three-year, comprehensive research experience for those interested in pursuing an academic career within a robust clinical department. The program provides resources, funding and mentorship to undertake doctoral studies, providing the foundation for future leaders in infectious diseases and microbiology research. Established links with international research centres will promote opportunities for international collaboration and exchange during the doctoral studies and beyond. The Department of Infectious Diseases is located within the Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct (AMREP) facilitating integration with other research institutes and clinical services. For physicians, this unique program includes scope for clinical consultant sessions or equivalent through Alfred Health, embedding this research program within health service delivery.

Program structure

The Department of Infectious Diseases PhD Program Structure is comprised of the following:

Preparation support

  • Nomination and establishment of the supervisory team
  • Assistance with formulation of the research question, design and plan
  • Assistance with funding applications including Scholarship Funding and/or Research Funding, as required
  • Establishment of the mentorship and career development pathways

Doctoral studies

Research support

  • Assistance with Ethics Applications
  • Assistance with patient recruitment and/or database support as required
  • Statistical support/ Research Training
  • Enrolment in the following courses
    • TRM6002 Translational Research
    • MPH6041 Introductory Biostatistics
    • TRM6001 Introduction to Clinical Trials
    • APR6001 Bioethics Theory and Practice
  • One-on-one biostatistical assistance for study design and analysis, facilitated through Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine

Infrastructure support

  • Office space and computer support
  • Laboratory and / or freezer space as required

Funding support

  • Assistance with funding applications for scholarship and / or research support
  • $3,000 per candidate / year for 3 years
  • Candidates can apply for consideration of additional funding to cover:
    • Project costs (disposables/ drug purchase etc.)
    • Ongoing education costs (i.e. software courses, database courses etc.)
    • Funding to attend conferences, including travel costs, for presentation of PhD research findings

Clinical appointment

At the discretion of Professor Peleg, and in alignment with the clinical needs of the unit, there will be the potential for clinical appointment at Alfred Health through the Department of Infectious Diseases for physician candidates who will be based in Australia. Negotiable within their area of research and may include:

  • Specialist Clinic
  • Ward service
  • Outreach services
  • Composite of the above

Postdoctoral career

The Department will offer mentorship and assistance with postdoctoral research career including:

  • Assistance with postdoctoral fellowship applications
  • Fostering of local, national and international collaborations for fellowship and / or research
  • Mentorship for ongoing clinician-investigator career development

Areas of research

  • HIV
  • Infections in Immunocompromised Hosts
  • Hospital Epidemiology
  • Antibiotic Resistance and / or Pathogenesis
  • Surgical Site Infections
  • Infections in the Intensive Care Unit
  • Influenza Epidemiology
  • Viral Hepatitis
  • International Public Health

Supervisors

  • Prof Allen Cheng
  • Dr Joe Doyle
  • Dr Julian Elliott
  • Prof Jennifer Hoy
  • Dr James McMahon
  • Dr Orla Morrissey
  • Dr Trish Peel
  • Prof Anton Peleg
  • A/Prof Edwina Wright

Successful PhD Stories

Dr Iain Abbott, MBBS FRACP FRCPA

Dr Iain Abbott completed dual Infectious Diseases and Microbiology training prior to enrolling in the PhD program with the Department of Infectious Diseases, Central Clinical School, Monash University. 

Having had to juggle clinical work and research projects during his Advanced Training, there was much appeal in now taking the opportunity to commit to full-time research. Faced with practical clinical problems such as treating critically ill patients with multidrug-resistant infections, Iain has embarked upon a research that targets antibiotic pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) in order to investigate how to optimise antibiotic therapy to improve efficacy and combat the emergence of resistance. 

The first step in this research project was to identify who were the “big names” in antibiotic PK/PD and the emergence of resistance. Following that was then to make contact and see if collaborative research options were available. In this end, Iain has found himself at Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, collaborating with experts in the field of in-vitro PK/PD modelling. 

Being immersed in self-directed research has been a complete life changing time, with many challenges and rewards along the way. Iain will continue in his work on developing in-vitro models of clinical infection syndromes to test the treatment effects, with a hope that his findings will not only inform clinical practice, but also help preserve existing antibiotics for future use. Iain will return to the Department of Infectious Diseases to complete his PhD.

Contact

Please email the Department with a CV and short description of your PhD research interests to DIDConnect@alfred.org.au for further details.