The Toronto-Melbourne Research Training Group is a joint research initiative founded by the University of Melbourne and the University of Toronto. The group provides a platform for researchers and joint PhD candidates from both universities to work together on projects that address issues from a broad range of disciplines.
The joint PhD candidates of the Toronto-Melbourne Research Training Group have the opportunity to collaborate closely on impactful research projects within a talented cohort. They are mentored by global experts, gain experience working in diverse cultures and research environments, and access resources and facilities at both universities.
Candidates can also participate in an equity training plan, which is designed to foster an open and inclusive community of learners. The training plan also offers post-project career development and continued equitable support of researchers’ lifelong goals.
Our partner: the University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is dedicated to the pursuit of research excellence, and is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world. Toronto is a multidisciplinary university with proud research traditions in science, engineering, social sciences, the humanities and health sciences. They are dedicated to fostering an academic community in which the learning and scholarship of every member may flourish, with vigilant protection for individual human rights, and a resolute commitment to the principles of equal opportunity, equity and justice.
Joining the training group has broadened my horizons by allowing me to immerse myself in two different cultures while working under three excellent supervisors. Xingyi Wu, Toronto-Melbourne Research Training Group joint PhD candidate
Discovery of invertebrate attractants and toxins from diverse Actinomycetes
Actinomycetes are a group of bacteria that produce an astounding array of small molecules, known as specialized metabolites. These molecules are used in the creation of antibiotics, antifungals, immunosuppressants and anticancer agents. Besides impacting us humans, the actinomycete bacteria also affect a variety of other organisms. One such group is the invertebrates, which include insects. The effect is varied – some invertebrates like the leaf-cutter ants have formed mutually beneficial relationships with the bacteria, whilst others like the parasitic worms have succumbed to the bacteria, which are toxic to them. Humans have used this knowledge to cure diseases such as river blindness, which is caused by the parasitic worm Onchocera volvulus. This project aims to further research the effects of actinomycetes on various insects.
Meet our academic lead
Dr Kathryn Stok (FIEAust) is Associate Professor of Mechanobiology in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Melbourne, and an innovative biomedical engineer in quantitative microstructural imaging (micro-computed tomography) and biomechanics of cartilage and joint structures. She uses a variety of experimental and computational approaches.
First published on 31 March 2022.
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