Honours Opportunities

Improve your employment prospects, enhance your research skills or prepare for postgraduate study by undertaking an Honours degree in one of the specialisations below.


These projects are available at the times indicated under each proposal as full-time (9 month) or part-time (18 month) undertakings.

  • Agricultural Sciences
    Students with interests in Animal Science, Animal Health or Crop and Pasture Science should consider these projects. For general information on Honours in this area, contact Associate-Professor David Miller. For more specific information on individual projects, contact the academic supervisor named in the project description.

    Project area
    Supervisor
    Meat quality; Animal nutrition
    David Pethick
    Meat quality, Animal nutrition, Biochemistry Graham Gardner 
    Pigs John Pluske
    Sheep production Andrew Thompson
    Serina Hancock
    Animal behaviour & welfare, Camels, Goats, Endocrinology David Miller
    Equine, Welfare, Health Anne Barnes
    Equine
    David Murphy
    Agricultural technology
    David Murphy
    Jayaseelan Marimuthu
    Livestock behaviour and welfare, human animal interactions Teresa Collins
    Health, Nutrition Caroline Jacobson
    Cattle, Meat Quality, Equine Fiona Anderson
    Eating quality Liselotte Pannier
    Behaviour, Ecology, Welfare

    Trish Fleming

    Meat quality
    Caroline Stewart
    Honor Calnan
    Aquaculture Alan Lymbery
    Dairy Joshua Aleri
    Plant nutrition Professor Richard Bell
    Legume symbioses; Agricultural microbiology; Microbial physiology Dr Graham O’Hara
    Soil carbon Professor Richard Harper
    Agricultural biotechnology Professor Michael Jones
    Grain genetics and genomics Professor Chengdao Li
    Symbiotic nitrogen fixation
    Dr Jason Terpolilli

  • Chemistry and Physics
    Students with interests in Chemistry or Physics should consider these projects. For more specific information on individual projects, contact the academic supervisor named in the project description.

    Project details
    Supervisor
    Nanoparticles for soil remediation
    This project will develop nanoparticles for treating water repellency, water retention and/or removal of pesticides
    A/Prof David Henry 
    Nanoparticles for treating biofilms   
    This project will extend our antibacterial nanoparticles capabilities to the treatment of biofilms.
    A/Prof David Henry
    Gallium nanocatalysts    
    This project will use computational chemistry to identify gallium-based catalysts.
    A/Prof David Henry
    Bioinorganic complexes for treating Type(II) diabetes
    This project will combine experimental and computation procedures to investigate metal complexes for treating Type(II) diabetes.
    A/Prof David Henry
    Algal valuable products production   
    Aims to cultivate cyanobacteria Spirulina to generate high value bio-plastic, pigments and other valuable. Co-supervised with Dr Leonie Hughes.
    Dr Damian Laird
    Algal valuable products production   
    Novel ways to process high value algal products, e.g. deep eutectic solvents, microencapsulation, counter current processing. Co-supervised with Dr. Leonie Hughes, Assoc. Prof. Navid Moheimani.
    Dr Damian Laird
    Two-stage reactor containing a mixed microbial for production of PHA  
    Aims to continually produce PHA.
    Dr Leonie Hughes
    Producing PHA copolymers using microbial cultures  
    Aims to produce copolymers with improved physical properties from non-sterile mixed microbial cultures (MMCs).
    Dr Leonie Hughes
    Properties of Transition Metal Sulfate Solutions
    Transition metals such as manganese, cobalt, nickel, copper and zinc are obtained and purified as their sulfate solutions. However, the physical properties of such solutions, which are important for process modelling and control, are often very poorly known. This project will involve the measurement of various properties including densities and heat capacities of these economically-important solutions up to high temperatures using our world-leading apparatus.
    Professor Glenn Hefter
    Metal Triflate salts
    The metal salts of ‘triflic’ acid (trifluoromethanesulfonic acid, HO3SCF3) are of great technological interest because of their unusually high solubilities and their very weak interactions with other species in solution. This project will involve preparation and characterisation of the properties of these remarkable salts and their solutions by Raman and NMR spectroscopies, TGA, viscosity, etc.
    Professor Glenn Hefter
    Contamination of Solvents by Molecular Sieves
    Molecular sieves are widely used as drying agents for solvents in the lab and industrially. They are cheap, fast, effective and re-useable. While a lot of work has been done on their drying abilities, almost nothing is known about possible contamination of the solvent by the sieves. This project will quantify the extent of this contamination using a variety of standard analytical techniques such as atomic absorption spectrophotometry, ICPOES and so on.
    Professor Glenn Hefter
    The Hydration of Organic Ions
    The hydration of organic cations and anions controls much of biochemistry including, for example, the folding and unfolding of protein molecules.  Yet such ions have received relatively little attention in the chemical literature.  This project will use viscosity, heat capacity and NMR measurements to study the hydration of key organic ions and the effects of these ions on the structure of liquid water.
    Professor Glenn Hefter
    Electrolytes in DMPU
    The liquid N,N' -dimethylpropyleneurea (DMPU) is an excellent solvent for cations but very little is known about the properties of its electrolyte solutions. Measuring the heat capacities and molar volumes of such solutions will provide important insights into their nature.
    Professor Glenn Hefter

  • Environmental and Conservation Sciences
    Students with interests in Biological Sciences, Conservation and Wildlife Biology, Environmental Management and Sustainability, Environmental Science, Environmental Management and Sustainability, Marine Biology or Marine Science should consider these projects. For general information on Honours in this area, contact Dr Jatin Kala. For more specific information on individual projects, contact the academic supervisor named in the project description.

    List of current project opportunities

  • Mathematics and Statistics
    Students with interests in Mathematics and Statistics should consider these projects. For more specific information on individual projects, contact the academic supervisor named in the project description.

    Project area
    Supervisor
    Bioinformatics and statistical genetics topics including next generation sequencing experiments, epigenomic regulation, genomic data integration, SNP-based association studies, probabilistic models for interference, and meta-analysis methods
    A/Professor Nicola Armstrong
    Robustness and medical statistics: comparing robust methods to identify unusual observations in the “Determination of Reference Intervals using Serum Immunoglobulin A as a Model Data Collection”, robust statistics: modelling ACTH levels in different breeds of equids
    Dr Brenton Clarke
    Hydrodynamic stability, natural convection in the environment, wave profiles behind ships, numerical methods in fluid mechanics.
    Combinatorics on words, discrete mathematics and number theory topics.
    Dr Amy Glen
    Aerodynamics (Ground Effect), galvanising of steel sheeting, the grounding of the QEII, modelling growth of tumours, other projects in mechanics, fluid mechanics or biological or chemical systems, e.g. flow of air in the lungs or blood through arteries, modelling temperature and density in a reservoir, withdrawing water from density-stratified fluids, modelling wave heights in a harbour, and flow of water or oil underground.
    Professor Graeme Hocking
    Inverse problems and applications including remote sensing, transmissivity estimation, medical imaging and tomography; integral equations of the first kind; spline smoothing and surface estimation from scattered data.
    Dr Mark Lukas
    Applied statistics and applications to ecology, data visualisation and time series. Dr Alethea Rea
    Mathematical materials science topics including nanomaterials: function from structure, 3D imaging: microscopy and morphology, biomimetics: optimal designs inspired by nature; geometry topics including stochastic geometry and spatial statistics, and negatively curved interfaces and networks.
    A/Professor Gerd Schroeder-Turk

  • Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
    Students with interests Medical, Molecular or Forensic Sciences should consider these projects. For general information on Honours in this area, contact Dr Andrew Currie or Dr Jason Terpolilli. For more specific information on individual projects, contact the academic supervisor named in the project description.
     
    Project area
    Supervisor
    Sarcoma; Signal transduction; Erythrocytes; Metastasis; Personalised medicine
    Dr Evan Ingley
    Haematology; Thrombosis; Haemostasis; Inflammation; Exercise Associate Professor Murray Adams
    Vertebrate functional anatomy and evolution Dr Natalie Warburton
    Bioinformatics; Biostatistics; Data science; Computational genomics; Statistical modelling
    Dr Penghao Wang
    Herbal medicine; Dietary supplements; Toxicology; Biochemistry Dr Garth Maker
    Ticks; Human & animal vector-borne pathogens; Next-generation sequencing; Bioinformatics Dr Charlotte Oskam

    Parasitic infections; Zoonotic transmission and diagnostics

    Dr Amanda Ash
    Bacterial metabolism; Horizontal gene transfer and evolution; Molecular genetics; Endosymbiosis Dr Jason Terpolilli
    Forensic science; Wildlife crime; Serology; Phylogenetics; Metagenomics Dr Shane Tobe
    Forensic DNA; Cold Case Investigations; National Security and Defence; Metagenomics; Crime Scene Investigation Mr Brendan Chapman
    Neonatal immunology; Sepsis; Milk immunology
    Dr Andrew Currie
    Synthetic biology; Genetic engineering; Microbial genomics; CRISPR-Cas editing Associate Professor Wayne Reeve
    Physiology education; Neuroscience; Transcranial magnetic stimulation Dr Sarah Etherington
  • Nursing
    For information on Honours opportunities in Nursing, contact Dr Jennifer Lymbery.
  • Psychology, Exercise Science, Chiropractic and Counselling
    Students with interests in Psychology, Exercise Science, Chiropractic and Counselling should consider these projects. For more specific information on individual projects, contact the academic supervisor named in the project description.

    Project details
    Supervisor
    Measuring how quickly psychomotor skills fade with non-use for determining retraining criteria  
    Chiropractors are required to complete a minimum number of hours of practice each year to remain registered. There appears to be little research that informs the specified number of hours for chiropractors. What is required is a scoping review of the available literature in parallel manual therapies to begin identifying evidence to this end.
    Dr Stanley Innes
    Identifying instant and strong responders to spinal manipulation  
    A recent study seeking the opinions of manual therapy experts identified 18 factors that are thought to identify people with low back pain who have a strong and instantaneous response to spinal manipulation. More research is required to construct a working measure of these factors to further investigate these factors.
    Dr Stanley Innes
    Blood flow restriction during soccer training    
    Blood flow restriction (BFR) training has been shown to improve performance in soccer players, but it isn’t known if wearing BFR cuffs may decrease a player’s passing and dribbling ability. This study will investigate the impact of wearing BFR cuffs on soccer-specific skills.
    Students involved in this research will also become a member of the Murdoch Applied Sports Science (MASS) Laboratory group. The MASS Lab provides a supportive environment for students who wish to pursue a career in high-performance sport.
    Dr Brendan Scott
    Acute responses to blood flow restriction during multi-joint resistance exercises    
    Low-load resistance training with blood flow restriction (BFR) improves size and strength in the limb muscles. However, research needs to examine whether BFR can also benefit the trunk and hip muscles during multi-joint exercise (e.g. squats, bench press). This study will assess the acute physiological responses to multi-joint resistance exercises with BFR to address this gap.
    Students involved in this research will also become a member of the Murdoch Applied Sports Science (MASS) Laboratory group. The MASS Lab provides a supportive environment for students who wish to pursue a career in high-performance sport.
    Dr Brendan Scott
    Sport Expertise and Skill Learning    
    Variety of projects can be explored. Needs to be planned 6 months ahead of implementation.
    Sean Muller
    What coaches want in injury prevention programs    
    While sports injury prevention programs have been shown to be effective, there is poor uptake. This survey based study seeks to identify the type of information coaches at varying levels want in a prevention program and the amount of time they have available to undertake prevention activities.
    Alasdair Dempsey
    (08) 9360 6526
    Comparison of single-leg versus double-leg injury screening tasks    
    Landing screening tasks for ACL injury have used double leg landing tasks, despite the majority of injuries occurring in single legs. This project will compare the ability of single to double leg landing in predicting injury risk.
    Alasdair Dempsey
    (08) 9360 6526
    Exercise and the brain   
    This project will examine the relationship between changes in physiological parameters and brain health markers (including cognitive testing and MRI scans) from before to after a high-intensity exercise intervention.
    Belinda Brown
    C-RIMS - Crisis Resilience in MS Priorities, concerns and unmet needs among the MS community resulting from natural disasters, such as the Australian Bushfires in 2019/20 and COVID19 pandemic    
    This study will continue the supervisory team’s investigation of the current healthcare management and experiences of the MS community during the summer bushfires in 2019/20 and the COVID-19 pandemic. The study includes analysis of data collected from over one-thousand Australians living with MS via an MS Research Australia national survey. The research is aimed at understanding the impact of the bushfires and the pandemic, and to improve healthcare management for the MS community during similar events. You will be joining an established team of researchers from across Australia, and will improve your understanding of disability research, alongside analysis of large datasets to answer complex questions. Ideally students will be knowledgeable in progressing a research agenda, and analysis of survey data.
    Yvonne C Learmonth
    Brody Heritage Claudia Marck (University of Melbourne)
    SCORE - Determining the validity of GotRhythm prior to delivery of a music and walking based exercise intervention in neurological population  
    Impairments in walking are evident in many neurological disorders, including multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Research indicates that music-based interventions have a strong clinical potential for the rehabilitation of motor function, including walking, in these populations. The supervisory team have developed a software application (GotRhythm) which will allow users to walk to music of their preferred genre and selected to encourage high motivation and reduce walking impairments. This project is first critical to validate the system. Following validation, a music and walking-based exercise intervention will be delivered to persons with a neurological conditions.   
    The two aims of this project are;
    1.    To collect and compare data on gait parameters with our GotRhythm walking measurement system and the GaitRite walking measurement system.
    2.    To identify the feasibility of delivering a music and walking intervention to persons with neurological disabilities
    You will be working with a dynamic and cross-disciplinary group of researchers on brand new rehabilitation technology.  You will learn to organise and co-ordinate a clinical study which is of high impact to future patients. Co-supervisor: Ann-Maree Vallence.
    Yvonne C Learmonth
    Fleur Vanrens

    WeCare - Exploring an Australian sample of multiple sclerosis (MS) carer-dyad experiences to support wellbeing and physical activity       
    The aim of the current study is to gather data to inform a theoretical framework that supports developing health and wellness interventions for the carer-dyad comprising persons with MS and carers, with the initial focus on physical activity participation. Using qualitative interviews with participants across Australia, this study seeks to explore different perspectives on:
    1)    what may be helpful to support and maintain carers own wellbeing, including the use of exercise
    2)    what do helpful experiences of care look like in the caring relationship – for example in supporting motivation or in responding to difficulties and
    3)    what may be helpful in supporting carers to receive support from others.
    You will be involved in collection of qualitative interviews, and subsequent analysis to help us understand the relationship between carers and people with MS, and healthcare providers.

    Helen Correia
    Yvonne C Learmonth
  • Veterinary Medicine
    Students with interests in Veterinary Medicine should consider these projects. For more specific information on individual projects, contact the academic supervisor named in the project description.

    Project details
    Supervisor
    Behavioural Assessment of livestock under husbandry procedures and transport
    To assess livestock welfare and the effectiveness of pain mitigation or handling procedures, a method to quantify the affective state of animals is required, and this can be addressed through assessment of behaviour.
    A/Professor Teresa Collins
    Investigating worm burden and resistance in Western Australia beef farms
    Objectives:
    • Understand deworming practices in dairy farms in WA
    • Establish prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites
    • Determine the presence of anthelminthic resistance in Western Australia dairy farms
    Scope: We envisage to sample 15 – 20 beef farms in WA and sample 80 – 100 weaned calves aged 3 – 8 months. Co-Supervisor: Dr Henry Annandale
    Dr Josh Aleri



How to apply

Once you’ve contacted the project supervisor and made your choice, you can apply directly to Murdoch using our easy-to-use online application system.

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