Genetics/genomics of passionfruit Research Opportunity | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Genetics/genomics of passionfruit Research Opportunity

Expressions of interest – Open until filled

The Australian passionfruit industry produces approx. 5,000 tonnes per annum, valuing $16.8 million in 2021. The industry is fast growing but pests and diseases represent significant issues that affect production and consistency of supply for the industry. One of the most harmful and complex diseases is fusarium wilt, caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum. In some countries including Australia, passionfruit growers lose up to 80% of their crop due to fusarium disease. Over expression of blind tipping reduced orchard productivity. Shorter shelf life is a major concern of industry viability. This, combined with the fact that passionfruit varieties have shown genetic deterioration and losing their vigour over time, make the development of new varieties with economically important traits is a high priority for the industry. Therefore, this project has two main aims: (i) use state of the art technologies to develop sustainable and efficient breeding pipeline for the passionfruit industry, and (ii) identify and solve key industry problems through genomics assisted breeding. The anticipated outcomes from the study include high yield varieties of passionfruit with good resistance to common diseases.

We invite applications from highly motivated candidates seeking opportunities to undertake their PhD in one of the following research themes:

  1. Genetic and physiological factors influencing the variability in yield and quality traits in passion fruit.
  2. Identifying and overcoming the nexus of productivity barriers in passion fruit: Trait and marker discovery

Open to

Domestic Students

HDR Program

Doctor of Philosophy

Study area

Genetics/Genomics and Bioinformatics and Agricultural Science

Study Load

Must remain enrolled on a full-time basis


  • Be accepted into the Doctor of Philosophy program at the University of the Sunshine Coast
Selection criteria

Standard Criteria 

  • Criterion 1: Academic Achievement – BSc (Honours) or MSc degree in genetics, biology, biotechnology, agriculture, statistics, bioinformatics, computational biology or related fields
  • Criterion 2: Research Capability and experience in one of the above fields

Project Specific Criteria

  • Criterion 3: Have a good understanding about plant breeding or genetics/genomics applied to improvement of agricultural species
  • Criterion 4: Possess quantitative and molecular genetic skills and familiarise with next generation sequencing data
  • Criterion 5: Ability to independently solve problems and to work in a team or collaborate with other members of the group
Eligible programs
Doctor of Philosophy

Tuition offset scholarship for 3 years full time to cover cost of tuition fees, also aligned with thesis submission (possible extension in line with relevant policies and procedures) - approximate value of $87 000   


For questions or to submit your Expression of Interest, please contact Dr Nguyen Nguyen (UniSC) via and/or Dr Mobashwer Alam (UQ):

This will be a two-stage application process:

Stage 1 - Expression of Interest:

  • Email your Expression of Interest (EOI) to the contact person and attach:
    • Application Form 
    • Cover letter
    • Current CV
    • Academic transcripts and BSc or MSc certificates
  • The panel will review the EOI. If shortlisted, you will be invited for interview.
  • The preferred applicant will be invited to formally apply for HDR program.

Stage 2 - Formal application (only if you have been invited to apply)

  • Read the important information on How to Apply for a HDR Program at UniSC.
  • Submit your USCRS application form as a supporting document when submitting your HDR Program application.