PhD Opportunity

The Kirby Institute

Posted on: Mon Aug 2015

Title: Using mathematical modelling to evaluate antimicrobial stewardship strategies for minimising the impact of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea in Australia.

An opportunity is available for an outstanding scholar to conduct PhD research in the area of gonorrhoea epidemiology with a mathematical modelling focus. The 3-year full-time PhD will be based in the Modelling Group of the Biostatistics and Databases Program at the Kirby Institute under the supervision of Associate Professor David Regan, and Dr James Wood from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG). Gonorrhoea is associated with serious reproductive morbidity and enhances acquisition and transmission of HIV. NG has developed resistance to successive classes of antimicrobial drugs and few proven therapeutic options remain to treat gonorrhoea if resistance emerges to the current first-line drugs. The World Health Organisation is warning that gonorrhoea may become untreatable in the near future. In order to avert this threat, and with no new drugs of proven effectiveness in the pipeline, it is imperative that appropriate strategies are developed for NG surveillance and antimicrobial stewardship that will preserve the effectiveness of currently available treatment options. The aim of this PhD project is to use mathematical modelling to improve our understanding of how NG antimicrobial resistance (AMR) emerges and spreads and to evaluate strategies for minimising the impact of NG AMR.

Specifically, the aims are:

  1. Explain persistence and spread of NG AMR in Australia;
  2. Assess the impact of timing of population-level switches to new treatment regimens;
  3. Compare impacts of current mono-drug, dual-drug and other alternative treatment regimens with individual-level strategies based on antimicrobial resistance profiles.

The Modelling Group conducts research focused on the use of mathematical modelling to evaluate public health interventions for the control and prevention of sexually transmissible and other transmissible infections. The work we conduct is highly multi-disciplinary involving collaboration with epidemiologists, biostatisticians, clinicians and policy makers. The overarching aim of the research we conduct is to provide quantitative evaluation of proposed interventions that can directly inform the development of public health policy. Our work has contributed to policy in Australia around human papillomavirus vaccination and chlamydia screening, prevention of STIs, HIV and blood borne viruses.

Applicants must meet the PhD entry requirements of UNSW Australia, be enrolling full-time and must hold an Honours degree (1st Class or 2nd Class upper) or a research MasterŐs degree in a quantitative discipline (e.g., mathematics, statistics, physics, engineering, computing, ecology). Students with a background of research in health, public health, epidemiology, and medical or health science will also be considered if they can demonstrate quantitative expertise.

For further information please contact David Regan by phone on (02) 9385 0860 or by email at

**Mention you saw it on the AustMS website**