Exploring and Commercialising New Methods of Treating Dysbiosis in Chemotherapy Patients

Location: North Terrace, Adelaide SA

Duration: 5 months

Proposed start date: 12 July 2018

Keywords: Microbiome, Startup, FMT, Technology, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Sepsis

Please note: Due to funding requirements students must have Australian Citizenship or Permanent Residency to apply. Applicants not meeting this requirement will be ineligible for the project.

Project Background

Sepsis kills 10% of patients who undergo chemotherapy. An increasing body of evidence points to the efficacy of repopulating the gut microbiome to assist with the potentially deadly side-effects associated with chemotherapy. Currently, faecal matter transplants (FMT’s) are the gold standard treatment to combat dysbiosis. Other more well publicised treatments like pre/pro biotics do not work in this scenario.  Effective, faecal donation is increasingly difficult (supply, high number of exclusion factors) and as such synthesising safe, viable samples is increasingly difficult. The team at Bright Arena is looking at ways to solve these problems while providing an effective substitute for a FMT.

Research to be Conducted

The team is currently working towards developing a synthetic FMT that will perform the same function as a regular FMT for chemotherapy patients. Along with validating the idea technically, the project requires the validation of the business model around the technology. Specifically, Bright Arena need to understand their early adopter (chemo patients), the problems they face, and whether their solution fits with their behaviours and needs.

Students will work with Bright Arena to research and create a proto-business around the synthetic FMT. Students will learn start-up and entrepreneurial methods as well as provide input in the development of the product based on these learnings.

Skills Required

We are looking for a PhD student with the following skills:


  • Microbiology background
  • Looking to learn about research commercialisation and entrepreneurship.
  • Keen to learn and comfortable with uncertainty.

Expected Outcomes

  • Customer interviews and synthesis of learnings
  • Validated Business Model and accompanying pitch deck
  • Work with project team to input learnings into the development of the FMT

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

To participate in the APR.Intern program, all applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Be a PhD student currently enrolled at an Australian university
  • PhD candidature must be confirmed
  • Applicants must have the written approval of their Principal Supervisor to undertake the internship. This approval must be submitted at the time of application.
  • Internships are also subject to any requirements stipulated by the student’s and the academic mentor’s university
Applications Close

 24 June 2018


INT – 0430