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Dissecting the architecture of the Insulin Signaling Pathway


The aim of this pathway is to understand how the insulin signalling pathway regulates metabolic homeostasis.

The Lead Supervisor for this project is David James. This project will also be supervised by James Burchfield.


Professor David James.

Research location

School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Program type



Signal transduction pathways like the insulin signaling pathway are comprised of a series of signaling molecules such as protein kinases, lipid kinases, phosphatases and scaffolding proteins whose job is to transmit information from outside to inside the cell. The relationship between these molecules is very complex involving a series of feedforward and feedback regulatory loops that are designed to ensure that exactly the correctly amount of signal is conveyed through the pathway. Many of these steps are subject to regulation and so are vulnerable to mistakes and thus are good disease targets. Understanding these relationships is fundamental. This project will involve molecular design, molecular cloning and live single cell imaging. Multiple approaches will be assessed with the view to designing new sensors targeting kinase activity that can be quantified at the single cell level. The project will be centred around the Ser/Thr kinase Akt with successful methodologies being transferred to other kinases. Akt is a key node in a range of signal transduction cascades which regulate fundamental processes such as cell proliferation and metabolism.

Additional information

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2874

Other opportunities with Professor David James