PhD program in the Molecular Pathogenesis @ Monash-JLU IRTG: The Monash-JLU IRTG fosters an intellectual environment that is building local and international research capacity, by creating innovation and knowledge through investment in leading edge research and in PhD student training.

Overview of the IRTG research program:

A large collaborative research program in the Molecular Pathogenesis of Male Reproductive Disorders is being undertaken by scientists, clinicians and students at Monash University, Australia, and Justus Liebig University, Germany. This collaboration is funded as an International Research Training Group (IRTG) by the German Government (DFG, German Research Foundation), with support from Monash University.

The program draws together a large team of international experts in male reproductive medicine to focus on a bench-to-bedside approach to diagnose and treat men’s reproductive health disorders. The focus is on innovative research that will drive discovery of new therapies for the diagnosis and treatment of male infertility, testicular and prostate cancers and inflammatory disorders of the male reproductive tract. Projects in this program investigate clinically relevant aspects of these disorders of male reproductive functions, including pathogenesis, treatment and/or diagnosis.

Overview of the PhD Program

Students are trained within two world-leading Reproductive Biology research centres and are enrolled into either JLU or Monash depending on where they will spend the majority of their time. Students spend a minimum of 3 months at the partner institution (travel expenses covered). If a student spends a minimum of 12 months at the partner university and satisfies other criteria, they may be awarded a joint PhD from both Universities upon completion.

Students work on a project that is an ongoing collaboration between Australian and German partners. They are co-supervised by researchers in both universities and regular meetings are held by video conferencing.

While at each institution, students attend specialised training activities designed to strengthen their knowledge and skills in male reproductive health research. These include lectures and workshops with scientists and health experts, visits to technology facilities and training in science communication. They receive specialised training in Infertility/Fertility, Immunology and Inflammation, Reproductive Hormones and Local Factors, and TGFβ/Activin Superfamily Biology. PhD students receive a scholarship and support to attend relevant conferences and IRTG milestone meetings.

Success of the PhD Program

Our students work in two partner laboratories within two scientific teams in different countries, and are immersed in a training program involving other students working in related, but distinct, areas. Each student is offered to a breadth of opportunities, both scientifically and personally. Students who have completed the program report that their PhD was enhanced by their interactions with multiple supervisors, gaining from their individual areas of knowledge and technical expertise.

Students are expected to write original research publications and review articles. They are encouraged to work independently within their host laboratories, and to utilise the strengths of each partner team and of the IRTG program. Our students regularly present their work at international conferences; they have collectively won more than 30 prizes and awards and co-authored more than 40 manuscripts. The first cohort of PhD students are nearing completion and four students have graduated from the IRTG, receiving the highest possible honour (summa cum laude) from JLU University.

Now enrolling at Monash:

P3: Formation of the testicular immunological barrier through immune modulation by somatic cells. Monash supervisors: K. Loveland and P.G. Stanton (project based at Hudson Institute, Clayton).

P6: Hormonal regulation of cGMP pathways and spontaneous contractility in the prostate. Monash supervisors: B. Exintaris and G. Risbridger (project based at Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Parkville).

P7: The role of activins and MCP-1/CCL2 in the development of CD4+CD8+ T cells and fibrotic responses during chronic testicular inflammation in mice. Monash supervisors: M. Hedger and K. Loveland (project based at Hudson Institute, Clayton).

P11: Impacts of epigenetic interactions between TET1 and PRC2 in spermatogenesis and fertility. Monash supervisor: P. Western (project based at Hudson Institute, Clayton).

P12: Role of oxytocin in the contractility of the male reproductive tract: implications for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Monash supervisors: B. Exintaris and G. Risbridger (project based at Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Parkville).

Now enrolling at JLU:

P1: Sperm morphology and motility in mice and men: Investigations of defective male germ cell differentiation. JLU supervisors: M. Bergmann and D. Fietz (project based at JLU Institute of Veterinary Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Giessen).

P2: Human testis cancer and spermatogenesis control by immune cells. JLU supervisors: M. Bergmann, H.-C. Schuppe and D. Fietz (project based at JLU Institute of Veterinary Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Giessen).

P3: Formation of the Testicular Immunological barrier through immune modulation by somatic Cells. JLU supervisors: G. Scheiner-Bobis and L. Konrad (project based at JLU Institute of Veterinary Physiology and Biochemistry and at JLU Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Giessen).

P5: Systemic and local inflammatory gene regulation and redox-signalling in chronic prostatitis – studies in patients’ blood and ejaculates towards individualized disease profiling. JLU supervisors: F. Wagenlehner and U. Schagdarsurengin (project based at JLU Department of Urology, Paediatric Urology and Andrology, Giessen).

Contact us:
For enquires into the Monash-based PhD program, contact: [email protected]
For enquires into the JLU-based PhD program, contact: [email protected]

How to apply:

If you meet the requirements and want to put in an application, please submit the following documents:

  • Letter of Intent in English that includes your
    • academic aptitude
    • academic and professional interest
    • specific interest in the chosen project
    • motivation to join the IRTG
  • Curriculum vitae (CV) including a recent photograph
  • Certified copies (in English or German) of all certificates awarding relevant degrees (Bachelor’s and Master’s or equivalent giving direct admission to doctoral studies)
  • Certified copies (in English or German) of the related transcripts of records, showing the studied subjects and the grades or points earned. Information on your ranking should also be included.
  • Proof of proficiency in English, i.e.
    • TOEFL (95 points internet based) or
    • IELTS (6.5, no band less than 6.0)
    • CEFR level B2/C1
  • Two letters of recommendation from different professors/ supervisors who are familiar with your previous academic work.

The deadline to submit the applications is June 30 2018.

Please submit your application in one single pdf file via e-mail to [email protected].

Please indicate the project number and location you apply for in the subject of the e-mail.

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