Study level

Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

In progress.


Dr Gautam Rishi
Research Associate
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Health
Professor Nathan Subramaniam
Professor in Biomedical Sciences (Molecular Medicine)
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Health


Project code:


Project aims and objectives:

Liver disease is a significant burden on society, affecting many in the prime of their life. Disordered iron metabolism is associated with many disorders and diseases including cancers, neurodegenerative and iron overload disorders, and anaemia associated with chronic disease.

These two inter-related research themes are the focus of research in the Hepatogenomics Research Group in the School of Biomedical Sciences and IHBI; we hope to advance our understanding of these disorders at a molecular level with the ultimate objective, the development of therapeutic interventions.

Projects in the laboratory are thus focused on defining the molecules and mechanisms that mediate liver injury and iron-related disease.

A number of projects are available based on skills and interests of the student. These include:

1. Genetic modifiers of iron disorders and liver disease - Variants in genes have been identified in subjects with these  disorders. Studies will be aimed at functional, molecular and cellular characterisation of these variants.

2. Characterisation of signalling molecules involved in liver injury and iron regulation - Cellular signalling pathways involved in development of liver and iron-related disease will be analysed in cell lines.

3. Liver Disease and Proteasomal Degradation - Novel molecules involved in proteasomal degradation and new ubiquitin-like  proteins identified in the laboratory involved in signalling and proteasomal degradation will be functionally characterised.

4. Identification and characterisation of knockout cell lines generated by using CRISPR technology –Cell lines deleted for  various liver-disease and iron-regulatory genes will be examined using molecular and cellular tools and disturbances in iron regulation analysed.

Project methodology and resources:

The laboratory uses a range of molecular and cellular approaches in these projects. The student will be actively involved in  laboratory-based projects and work with an experienced lab-based supervisor. He/She will be trained and acquire skills in many  molecular and cell biology techniques. These include:  Bioinformatics, real-time PCR, cloning, western blotting, 2D and 3D cell culture, transient and stable transfections, siRNA  knockdown, miRNA mimetics/inhibitors and mammalian overexpression systems, CRISPR genome editing, next-generation sequencing, immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy.  All resources including cell lines and reagents to carry out these projects are available in the laboratory.

Location of research:

QUT Kelvin Grove Campus, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI)

Area of Research:

Molecular medicine

Prior knowledge/skills

Prior knowledge of basic biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, and basic laboratory techniques will be an advantage.

Resources and access:

The VRES student will have ready access to supervisors and will work in the laboratory alongside an experienced researcher and  co-supervisors who will provide day-to-day supervision. Appropriate work space, desks, PC and necessary resources are  available at IHBI.

Research Activities:

Literature review; laboratory experiments; data analysis.



Contact the supervisors, Dr Gautam Rishi and Professor Nathan Subramaniam for more information.