Our academic staff are not just experts in instrumentation and analysis. Their expertise across biological, geo-environmental and physical sciences provides opportunities for postgraduate study across a wide variety of disciplines.
The following honours and PhD research projects are available in association with the Centre:
Our group investigates the biological, chemical and physical properties of biomineralisation processes, so students may have a variety of backgrounds including chemistry, biophysics, biology, crystallography and/or instrument and technique development.
- Characterisation of Swan River chiton radulae and heavy metal/pollutants
- Development and structure of the radula in juvenile chitons
- Fine structure of the organic matrix/biominerals in chitons
- N metabolism in symbiotic marine algae of corals
- Investigation into iron storage, transport and movement in chitons
- 3D structural characterisation of biological materials in a TEM
- 3D elemental analysis of biological materials in a TEM
Clues to the evolution of intracellular parasitism
Cryptosporidium is a common protozoan parasite of the gut of numerous vertebrate species including humans. It causes diarrhoeal disease which can be life threatening in immuno-compromised individuals and young livestock. Cryptosporidium can be transmitted directly from one host to another, but has also often been responsible for waterborne outbreaks of disease in humans. Recent molecular and biological research on Cryptosporidium has challenged conventional dogma regarding the parasite’s taxonomic and phylogenetic affinities, and has demonstrated that Cryptopsoridium is much more closely related to a ubiquitous, primitive group of protozoa, the gregarines.
Gregarines are common parasites of invertebrates, and those most closely related to Cryptopsoridium, the archigregarines, are parasites of marine invertebrates such as polychaete annelids. These gregarines are much larger in size than Cryptosporoidium but share a range of features in common, particularly regarding the nature of the interface between host and parasite.
This project involves a comparative ultrastuctural study of the host parasite interface of certain archigregarines and Cryptosporidium. It thus offers the opportunity to better understand how Cryptosporidium lives and survives in its vertebrate host, as well as the evolution of intracellular parasitism.