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Through the Lions Lotus PhD Scholarship, we aim to improve the quality of life for patients living with liver cancer.

In Australia, liver disease is the only cause of death from cancer that is still increasing year upon year.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common liver disease and affects an estimated 5.5 million Australians, including 40% of all adults aged 50 years and above (Gastroenterological Society of Australia, 2012). Emerging as a global epidemic, this disease is one of the most common causes of death from cancer worldwide. This, coupled with a permanent shortage of organs for liver transplantation, requires urgent and intensified research to find better treatments and prevention methods.

Through the Lions Lotus PhD scholarship, we will recruit highly competitive PhD students to work alongside a vibrant team of experienced researchers from the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI) to conduct cutting-edge research dedicated to the prevention and treatment of liver cancer.

Associate Professor Nina Tirnitz-Parker travelled to Neko Harbour in 2019 as a member of the international leadership program for women in STEM, ‘Homeward Bound’, and as part of the largest-ever all-female expedition to Antarctica. Photo credit: Will Rogan.

“Chronic liver disease is one of the most rapidly growing causes of death worldwide and a major global challenge. Current treatments for liver cancer are limited and only prolong the life expectancy of patients by two to three months.

“Unfortunately, ageing can enhance vulnerability to various liver diseases and the prognosis for an elderly person affected by fatty liver disease, viral hepatitis or liver transplantation is often worse.

“The new PhD scholarship will help us advance crucial research to assist us in tackling these challenges.”

Associate Professor Nina Tirnitz-Parker

Head of the Liver Disease and Regeneration Group
Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, and
School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences


Donate now to grow the talent pool and create the next generation of passionate researchers dedicated to combating liver disease and liver cancer. With your support, we can leverage pledged funding from the Lions Cancer Institute for the inaugural Lions Lotus PhD scholarship.


Give to the Lions Lotus PhD Scholarship


Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI)

CHIRI is the only research institute in the southern hemisphere solely dedicated to developing new treatments for diseases that more commonly occur with older age – we call these ‘adults-only’ diseases.

CHIRI’s vision is to identify new prevention and treatment strategies for adult diseases by supporting researchers who are prepared to explore the unexplored, take bigger risks in research and think outside the box in the search for major scientific insights and adult health outcomes.

The Lotus Flower – A Symbol of Life without Liver Disease

Rising from the dirt and murky waters, one cannot fail to see the remarkable beauty of a lotus flower. Much like the liver functions to detox the body, the lotus flower’s self-cleaning properties (known as the ‘lotus effect’) symbolise rebirth, purity and prosperity, and represent long life, health, honour and good luck.

Our research team aims to repair and strengthen the function of a damaged liver, enabling it to properly metabolise again, and to filter and detox bodies from ‘dirty’ and ‘murky’ compounds and chemicals.

Further information

For more information, please contact Ms Fabienne Vonarburg, Senior Development Manager at Curtin University.

Phone: 0423 415 047