Ph.D. Positions in Data Science and Infectious Diseases at the University of Melbourne, EEE Department

One/two fully funded Ph.D. positions are available in the Signal Processing and Computational Biology group (SPCB) in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) at the University of Melbourne (UoM), Australia.

The PhD(s) will be supervised by Prof. Matthew McKay, who has led the SPCB group at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and will commence in late 2021 at the UoM as a Professor in the EEE Department and as an ARC Future Fellow.  He will additionally hold an Honorary Professorial Fellow position with the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UoM, located in the world-famous Doherty Institute, and an Adjunct Professor appointment at HKUST.

The research will involve developing data science models for addressing pertinent questions related to infectious diseases. The SPCB group, both at UoM and HKUST, is involved in projects focused on the application of data science to model the evolution of viruses, including coronaviruses (e.g., COVID-19), and to help design vaccines. The group works with diverse collaborators at The University of California (Riverside), MIT, Stanford, Cambridge University, The University of New South Wales, Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi), and The University of Hong Kong, among others.

We are looking for candidates with a solid technical background in one or more of signal processing, machine learning, statistics (including high-dimensional stats, random matrices), physics, mathematics, or computer science. 

Prior background in bioinformatics, computational biology, or genetics is a plus, but not essential. The candidate is, however, expected to be highly motivated to conduct research in data science and infectious diseases, and to have a passion to learn relevant application-specific background.  This will be supported by the SPCB group, who have a history of training PhD students with technical backgrounds (e.g., in the above-listed areas) to perform impactful graduate-level research in infectious diseases.

Applications are welcome until the positions are filled. 


  • Ph.D. studentships (~ $32,000 AUD per year) are available for up to 3.5 years. Students may be supported through the UoM Graduate Research Scholarships (see here) or supported through separate funds.
  • Additional benefits include full fee offset, health cover, and relocation assistance.
  • The selected candidates will be supported to spend period(s) at the relevant collaborating institutions, subject to performance and upon mutual agreement.

Expected Qualifications: 

  • Bachelor or Masters (preferred) in Electrical/Electronic/Computer Engineering or other relevant fields including Mathematics, Statistics, Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, Computer Science, and Physics/Biophysics.
  • Outstanding academic record.
  • Strong technical background.
  • Exceptional communication skills in English, both written and verbal.
  • Programming experience with MATLAB, Python and/or R.
  • Research publications in reputable peer-reviewed conferences or journals, if any, would be a plus.

Potential applicants are advised to browse through the research work at the SPCB group’s website ( and complete the expression of interest form. Note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

For queries, contact Prof. Matthew McKay (m.mckay[at]ust[dot]hk) and Prof. Ahmed Abdul Quadeer (eeaaquadeer[at]ust[dot]hk) with the email subject, “Prospective PhD Candidate (EEE, UoM)”. 

Example news articles featuring the SPCB group’s work:

About The University of Melbourne:

The University of Melbourne is an elite international university in Australia. It is ranked 33rd in the world among all universities worldwide (2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings), and ranked 7th in Graduate Employability according to QS 2020.  The Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology (which includes the EEE Department) is ranked 41 in the world in Engineering and Technology, according to QS World University Rankings 2020.

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