AITHM James Cook University

AITHM is building a world-leading health and medical research institute, which is solving problems of major importance to tropical Australia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and the Tropics worldwide.

AITHM researchers are dedicated to excellence in tropical health and medical research, biotechnology and research education, and are driven to improve health outcomes for people living in rural and remote areas, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations and underserved populations in the tropics worldwide.

Research, professional and technical positions with AITHM are advertised on the James Cook University Jobs@JCU website.

30 August, 2022

PhD Opportunity - Understanding infectious diseases transmission using quantitative methods

Applications are invited to undertake a PhD in infectious diseases modelling at the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, at James Cook University (JCU). We are seeking people with a background in a quantitative science such as mathematics, statistics, physics, engineering, computer science, bioinformatics, ecology, or with a biological background and strong interest and aptitude in mathematics. Our intention is to provide up to 4 PhD scholarships to enable a supportive cohort environment. Candidates will be encouraged to apply for other funding schemes, such as NHMRC or JCU scholarships to help further expand the cohort.

Projects will start late 2022 or early 2023. We will provide a cohort training framework including informal but structured learning throughout the course, particularly during the first year. Opportunities exist for laboratory and public health immersions. Positions are available at Townsville and Cairns Campuses, although most supervisors are in Townsville.

We have a number of projects in the area of disease emergence (COVID-19 or the next pandemic), disease transmission (tuberculosis, MRSA), phylodynamics, geospatial modelling, pharmacodynamics and intra-host modelling. Below is a list of specific project titles, but candidates are also encouraged to develop their own project ideas:

  1. Modelling scenarios for tuberculosis control in the Western Pacific Region including health economic analysis
  2. Defining TB natural history and its implications for disease control
  3. Zoonotic disease risk in introduced animal pest species in Northern Australia.
  4. Vector-borne disease modelling and forecasting
  5. Modelling transmission of emerging infectious and neglected tropical diseases
  6. Process-based models for risk of spill-over and pandemic potential
  7. Modelling diagnostic pathways and point of care testing and its impact on disease detection and cost
  8. Genetic-driven infectious disease modelling
  9. Efficacy of long-lasting insecticidal nets and alternative vector control strategies against malaria and dengue mosquitoes in the South-Pacific region (Cairns based project)*

How to apply:

Please apply by sending your CV, cover letter with response to questions to

Please write phd2023 in your subject heading.


  1. Describe your interest and experience in infectious diseases
  2. What is your background in applying quantitative methods to real life situations –models or datasets?
  3. How do you envisage using your PhD in the future and what would you like to learn along the way?
  4. Do you have specific data that you would like to analyse as part of the project?
  5. What is your experience communicating scientific knowledge across different audiences?

PhD advisor team:
Emma McBryde, Michael Meehan, Roslyn Hickson, Paul Horwood, Stephan Karl*