Research internship opportunities (MIT)

ANU offers short-term research internships in science, health and medicine. These internships are designed for talented students from leading international universities. They are an excellent opportunity to carry out research under the supervision of world-class researchers utilising state-of-the-art facilities and materials.

Interns will be invited to participate in a variety of shared social events, workshops and seminars, giving them the chance to form networks with other researchers in their field. 

Undertake collaborative research

  • 10-12 week internship program
  • Northern Hemisphere Summer (ideally May-August 2020)
  • Join an existing research project/group at Australia's leading* university 
  • A range of travel grants available - please contact MIT for further details

Research areas

Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics

Research Area/Group Short description of Research Area/Group/Project

Taipan Galaxy Survey (Prof Matthew Colless)

Construction of the Fundamental Plane and peculiar velocity measurements for the Taipan galaxy survey 

The Galactic ASKAP Survey (Prof Naomi McClure-Griffiths)

Unbiased survey of HI absorption in the Large Magellanic Cloud from ASKAP

Star Formation, Interstellar Medium, Computational Astrophysics (A/Prof Christoph Federrath)

The role of turbulence for the origin of stellar masses

Star Formation, Interstellar Medium, Computational Astrophysics (A/Prof Christoph Federrath)

Quantifying the velocity structure in turbulent rotating molecular clouds

Star Formation, Interstellar Medium, Computational Astrophysics (A/Prof Christoph Federrath)

The world's largest turbulence simulations

Star Formation, Interstellar Medium, Computational Astrophysics (A/Prof Christoph Federrath)

Supernova feedback and star formation

Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (Prof Anna Moore, A/Prof Rob Sharp)

Optical/Infrared Astronomical Instrumentation for Ground-Based Telescopes

Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (Prof Anna Moore, A/Prof Rob Sharp)

Instrumentation for Small Satellites

Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (A/Prof Francois Rigaut, A/Prof Celine D'Orgeville)

Adaptive Optics Research and Development

Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (Dr Francis Bennet)

Laser Communications Reseach and Development

Galactic Archaeology and Stellar Physics (Prof Martin Asplund)

The Oldest Stars in the Universe

Galactic Archaeology and Stellar Physics (Prof Martin Asplund)

Stellar magnetic fields and stellar spectra

YerraLoon high-altitude balloon platform (Prof James Gilbert) 

Development of a re-usable high-altitude balloon platform for stratospheric testing of space systems and astronomical instrumentation

Other potential projects available within the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA)

Research School of Biology

Research Area/Group Short description of Research Area/Group/Project

Phenotypic plasticity in thermal tolerance in Australian plants (Prof Adrienne Nicotra)

Projects are available examining the ecophysiology and evolution of thermal tolerance in Australian plants. Applicants will join an enthusisastic and hard-working team to conduct experiments in the field and in glasshouse/controlled environment conditions. Field work opportunities to the Australian high country and dryland are available.

Discovering the functions and roles of transporters of biomedical importance in parasites and mammals (Dr Rowena Martin)

Our research is enabling robust characterisations of transporters involved in drug action and drug resistance in the malaria parasite, as well as transporters of biomedical or agricultural significance from mammals, insects, and plants.  This work is providing substantial new biological insights and strategies for combatting high-priority challenges such as drug resistance.

Genomics, evolution, and host adaptation (Dr Benjamin Schwessinger)

Fungal pathogens constantly evolve to evade plant immunity. Here you will learn different methods, either biochemistry or bioinformatics, that will enable you to study pathogen evolution and plant immune signalling

Pathogen detection and the microbiome  (Dr Benjamin Schwessinger)

The microbiome is the consortium of microbial organisms colonizing a specific habitat. This project is targeted towards understanding the principles of leaf microbiomes and its effect on plant pathogen interactions

Structural basis of cell adhesion in health and disease (Dr Jospeh Brock)

This project focuses on the molecular basis of the disease endometriosis, a  disease estimated to effect up to 10% of reproductive age women world-wide which can lead to internal cross-organ attachment, excruciating pain and infertility. This project incoporates 3-dimensional structure analysis of associated membrane proteins using cryo-Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM).

Structural basis of drug resistance in the Malaria parasite (Dr Joseph Brock)

The best treatment for Malaria is currently via the combination of the drugs such as Artemisin. Emerging resistance means there is an urgent need a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms. This project seeks to understand the structural basis of antimalarial resistance, aiding the development of new therapeutics against the parasite.

Structural basis of Resolvin mediated GPCR signalling (Dr Joseph Brock)

G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the cellular “inbox” for external messages. A newly discovered class of omega-3 fatty acid derivatives known as Pro-Resolving Mediators have a potent ability to resolve states of chronic inflammation via binding to specific GPCRs. This project seeks to understand the molecular details of these interactions

Understanding chromosomal evolution (Dr Alexander Mikheyev)

Using the unique biology of local social huntsman spider, which has extreme polymrphisms in chromosomal structure, this project aims to understand how chromosomes evolve.

Inferring the ancestral population size of pre-Columbian North American human populations (Dr Alexander Mikheyev)

Advances in computational algorithms provide an opportunity to examine the demographic history of populations, i.e., whether they have grown or shrank over time. We would like to investigate the history of humans in North America, before European contact to see how many people lived there and how the population changed over time.

Using computer vision and machine learning to study honey bee behavior (Dr Alexander Mikheyev)

The success of social insects depends on organization and cooperation of individuals that make up a colony. We are using neural networks and machine vision to understand how a honey bee colony is organized and how it responds to a changing environment.

Other potential projects available within the Research School of Biology

Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science

All research areas at the Centre for Public Awareness of Science

Research School of Chemistry

Research Area/Group Short description of Research Area/Group/Project

 Photoredox catalytic CO2-to-valuables conversion (Dr Zongyou Yin)

To mitigate global warming and energy crisis issues, decarbonisation with converting CO2 to valuable resources stands out a sustainable strategy currently. This project intends to develop novel sustainable Solar-driven technology for converting CO2 to valuable resources with the understanding of fundamentals in CO2 photoreduction and the received products. 

Cooperativity in catalysis (Dr Annie Colebatch)

Catalysts are key to achieving efficiency and selectivity in many chemical processes. However, the behaviour of catalysts during reactions is often not well understood. We aim to synthesise cooperative homogeneous organometallic catalysts and study how they function during catalysis. This understanding of reactivity will enable us to design improved catalysts with higher efficiencies and selectivities.

Soft Condensed Matter (Prof Edie Sevick)

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded for the synthesis of molecular machines.  Feringa's specific advance was the design of a  photo-driven, molecular rotary motor.  This optically driven rotor could serve as the driver of different nanomachines, but we need to understand how these transmit torque/motion at the molecular scale.  The student will apply theory/simulation tools to describe molecular gearing.

Soft Condensed Matter (Prof Edie Sevick)

Active materials, such as self-propelled colloids/Janus particles and chemotactic organisms, show interesting flow behaviour.  Solutions of rod-like particles flow autonomously when these rods are elongated and form nematic phases.  What properties of these particles are necessary to achieve autonomous flows and how does chemical energy power these directional micro flows?   The student will apply theory/simulation tools with potential experiment.

Biocatalysis for sustainable chemical processes (Dr Lee Alissandratos)

The project will employ Synthetic Biology to develop new Biocatalysis platforms using multi-enzymatic cascades as replacements for unsustainable fossil-based processes. This includes engineering of new enzyme activities using renewable substrates (e.g. CO2, ammonia), optimisation of cofactor-dependent biotransformations, and new tools for control of multi-enzymatic reactions. Target bioproducts include platform chemicals, fuels, green fertilisers, fine chemicals and therapeutics.

Nonlinear Optical Studies of Molecular Materials (Prof Mark Humphrey)

Molecules possessing nonlinear optical (NLO) properties that can modify certain propagation characteristics of light are urgently needed for a range of applications in modern technologies. This project, which is suitable class="fullwidth tbl-cell-bdr anu-wide-scroll anu-long-area nounderline" for those with experience working in a laser lab and with an interest in nonlinear optics, will involve using unique instrumentation and experiments to explore the NLO properties of new organometallic materials. 

Development of antiviral agents (Dr Christoph Nitsche)

Our research targets viral proteases as the Achilles heel of viral replication to combat neglected tropical diseases like dengue or Chikungunya fever. The project offers participation in the design of selective inhibitors that serve as lead compounds for drug discovery campaigns. Our projects are interdisciplinary, welcoming students with various backgrounds, ranging from organic chemistry to structural biology.

Lighting up sugars – fluorescent probes for mono-saccharides (Prof Penny Brothers)

We have developed a method of attaching a fluorescent BODIPY label directly to glucose. This allows for highly targeted, sensitive, fluorescent labelling of sugars which could be applied to the detection of specific sugar disease markers, the labelling of saccharide capsules, and the determination of polysaccharide fine structure.  This synthetic chemistry project will involve exploring the chemistry of BODIPY-sugar conjugates.

Novel Water-Soluble Photoinitiators (Dr Pu Xiao)

To utilize the photopolymerisation technique for application of biocompatible polymeric materials, it is important to develop waterborne formulations, in which water-soluble photoinitiators constitute the key component. However, although widely used biocompatible water-soluble photoinitiators exhibit minimal toxicity, the UV light exposure necessary during the fabrication process is harmful to living cells. This project aims to develop new visible-light-sensitive and water-soluble photoinitiators.

Other potential projects available within the Research School of Chemistry

Research School of Earth Sciences

Research Area/Group Short description of Research Area/Group/Project

Climate and Fluid Physics

The Climate and Fluid Physics group carries out research on fluid flow problems relevant to Earth, using both numerical modelling and laboratory experiments in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (GFD) laboratory.

Experimental Petrology

The Experimental Petrology group uses a laboratory-based experimental approach combined with filed observations to study the Earth, its origin, evolution and mineral wealth.

Earth Dynamics

Research in geodynamics and environmental geodesy encompasses all aspects of deformation of the solid Earth and its fluid envelope, including the development of models of the past ice history of the Earth.


The Palaeoenvironments Group specialises in environmental reconstruction on times scales that range from thousands to millions of years for both marine and terrestrial environments.

Seismology and Mathematical Geophysics

The Seismology and Mathematical Geophysics group pursues research ranging from earthquake mechanisms and geohazards to elucidating lithospheric structures, to studying the inner core, to developing new methods for imaging Earth's interior. 

Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry

We constrain the timing and nature of processes in geological and planetary systems using chemistry, isotopes and mineralogy, plus field and petrologic observations.


We research nutrients, trace metals and carbon cycling in the present and past oceans, with emphasis on silica and calcium carbonate biomineralising organisms.

Fenner School of Environment and Society

Research Area/Group Short description of Research Area/Group/Project

Centre for Water and Landscape Dynamics

We develop new methods to measure, monitor and forecast climate, water availability and landscape conditions. Our solutions frequently combine Big Data from satellite observation and sensor networks, with field research, biophysical modelling and machine learning.

Integrated Catchment Assessment and Management Centre

The Integrated Catchment Assessment and Management Centre (iCAM) is a team of interdisciplinary Fenner School researchers at ANU specialising in integrated environmental assessment and modelling. Our mission is to develop and integrate the knowledge required to clarify management and policy options for sustaining vital water and related resources. It is underpinned by targeted research in hydrology, ecology and socio-economics, and by interdisciplinary projects codesigned with interest groups. Integrated models and decision support tools are typical software products of our engagement.

Mathematical Sciences Institute

Research Area/Group Short description of Research Area/Group/Project

Algebra & Topology

The Algebra & Topology research program explores the areas of algebraic geometry, representation theory, algebraic topology, K-theory, analytic number theory, operator algebras, low-dimensional and symplectic topology, and homological algebra.

Analysis & Geometry

The Analysis & Geometry research program explores the areas of differential geometry, several complex variables, non-commutative geometry, harmonic analysis, microlocal analysis, partial differential equations, operator theory, spectral theory, convex geometry and statistical learning theory, and banach algebras.

Applied & Nonlinear Analysis

Current research in the Applied & Nonlinear Analysis research program emphasises elliptic and parabolic partial differential equations, geometric and physical variational problems, geometric partial differential equations, geometric evolutions, geometric measure theory, optimal transportation, affine differential geometry, conformal differential geometry, finite element and difference equation approximations, and geometry of fractals.

Bioinformation Science

mathematics, statistics, quantitative biology, goal of developing new techniques for analysing complex biological systems.

Computational Mathematics

The Computational Mathematics research program actively studies theoretical aspects of computational algorithms, both in the continuous and discrete settings, as well addressing implementation issues to ensure efficient and reliable solution techniques.

Mathematical Physics

The Mathematics Physics research program spans the ANU College of Science, with several members having joint appointments with the Department of Theoretical Physics in RSPE. The program is active in studying fundamental problems across a broad spectrum of Mathematical Physics.

Stochastic Analysis & Risk Modelling

The Stochastic Analysis & Risk Modelling research program explores the areas of stochastic modelling of financial processes, statistical inference relating to those models, stochastic integration and numerical aspects of partial differential equations, and option pricing models.

Theoretical Astrophysics

The Theorectical Astrophysics research program explores the areas of compact stars, radiation processes and transfer mechanisms in accretion flows on to highly magnetic compact stars, modelling of accretion disks, modelling of stars and magnetic atmospheres, cataclysmic variable binaries, and searching for the progenitors of type Ia supernovae.

John Curtin School of Medical Research

Research Area/Group Short description of Research Area/Group/Project

The Andrews Group

A data revolution is underway in modern biological science, now that obtaining the genome sequence for an individual organism has become routine and increasingly affordable due to exponential advances in sequencing technologies. 

The Arabzadeh Group

The Neural Coding Group has a broad interest in systems neuroscience spanning areas such as sensory coding, adaptation and behaviour.

 The Arkell Group

We aim to understand the complex molecular processes by which these transcription factors interact with signal transduction pathways, chromatin, RNA and other proteins in order to orchestrate these important developmental processes

The Bekkers Group

We are interested in how the mammalian brain processes sensory information received from the external world, with a focus on olfaction.  We use patch clamping, 2-photon microscopy and molecular approaches to study olfactory circuits 'in vivo', in acute slices and in cultures.

The Billups Group

The Synaptic Mechanisms Laboratory investigates how individual synapses in the central nervous system function and how they are modulated.

The Bruestle Group

The Bruestle Group studies different T helper cell subsets and how they modulate immunity in diverse autoimmune mouse models.

The Burgio Group

Our research aims to better understand how antimicrobial resistance occurs in microorganisms and how to find new therapies.

The Casarotto Group

The Casarotto Group explores how the structural properties of biological molecules can impact on the biological process involved in health and disease.

The Cockburn Group

The focus of our research is understanding how to generate effective immunity against the malaria parasite Plasmodium.

The Cook Group

The group is seeking to understand the genetic etiology and cellular pathogenesis of human diseases arising from dysregulated immunity.

The Dehorter Group

The Dehorter Group aims to determine how interneurons shape neuronal networks activity and contribute to circuits balance in health and disease.

The Easteal Group

We study the evolutionary interplay between humans and their environments to understand how this dynamic process gave rise to our complex biology; how it made us such a diverse species; and how it impacts our health and wellbeing.

The Enders Group

The main focus of the lab is to investigate novel pathways regulating B cell development and function.

The Eyras Group 

The Eyras Group is working to understand the biology of RNA and cancer using computational methods.

The Fischer Group

The Fischer lab investigates the connection between chromatin structure, pervasive transcription and RNA surveillance, and their influence on genomic stability.

The Gardiner Group

The group investigates the molecular basis of processes coordinated by platelets across vascular biology.

The Hannan Group

This group focuses on the molecular analysis of major pro-malignant transcription factor networks that operate in cancer cells using an integrated approach.

The Hayashi Group

We are interested in learning how gene expression controls mechanisms through the lens of host-transposon interaction and how they, in turn, play roles in animal development.

The Maddess Group

My interest in the optical designs of invertebrate eyes led me to study how visual systems squeeze real-time information into brains of limited capacity

The Man Group

The Man Group investigates the role of innate immunity in infectious diseases and cancer.

The McMorran Group

The main focus of our research is to understand the host response to malarial infection.

The Natoli Group

Our lab studies a number of retinal diseases, with our main focus on finding novel diagnostics and treatment options for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

The Preiss Group

Our group studies the mechanisms and transcriptome-wide patterns of eukaryotic mRNA translation and its regulation by RNA-binding proteins and non-coding RNA.

The Quinn Group

The Quinn Group's current research involves generating genetic models using Drosophila melanogaster to understand the initiation and progression of human cancer.

The Simeonovic Group

We propose that during T1D development, neutrophils are activated by platelets to release NETs/histones inside blood vessels and within islets.

The Soboleva Group

The Soboleva Group studies mechanisms by which epigenetics controls cell differentiation and how those processes are affected in cancer.

The Stuart Group

The Neuronal Signalling Group studies the electrical and chemical signals that nerve cells in the brain use to communicate with one another.

The Thompson Group

Our lab studies the molecular mechanisms of epithelial tissue development, tissue regeneration and carcinoma formation.

The Tremethick Group

The Group studies chromatin and transcriptional regulation during development.

The Tscharke Group

Our research interests are Immunity to virus infection and in particular CD8+ T cells, poxviruses and herpesviruses and antigen presentation.

The Vinuesa Group

The Humoral Immunity and Autoimmunity Group is investigating the cellular and molecular events that regulate production and selection versus elimination of memory B cells, which is of critical importance to understand how best to harness immune responses against infection, and to mitigate against autoimmunity.

The Wen Group

The Wen Group focuses on the computational biology of RNA and functional genomics.

Research School of Physics

Please see School's research project website. You may filter for 'summer scholars' but please do not limit your search to only those projects. Most research projects can be adjusted to suit a 10 - 12 week research period. 

ANU quick facts

Nomination and application

Visit MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives further information.


Sean Gilbert
Managing Director
MIT China, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand

Academic profiles

Meet the ANU chemist fighting on the frontline of antibiotic resistance

In 2015, the World Health Organization put out a call to action on antibiotic resistance, so Dr Lara Malins got to work.

The disease detective fighting epidemics

A ‘disease detective’ from ANU wants to better coordinate emergency responses.

Research stories

23 Dec 2021

Garang Dut’s journey from a refugee camp to health policy expert

Dr Garang Dut understands better than most the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on Australia’s refugee community.  

22 Dec 2021

Researchers find key to drivers of kidney disease

ANU researchers have found a mutation in the gene that can cause the development of kidney disease.

13 Aug 2021

What do I need to know about the Moderna vaccine? And how does it compare with Pfizer?

Australia’s medical regulator has provisionally approved another COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna, for use in Australia. One million doses of Moderna are due in the second half of September and three million doses a month will begin to arrive from October.

2 Dec 2020

Brains and bellies: In menopause, bigger can sometimes mean better

Research shows postmenopausal women have larger brain volumes than premenopausal women. But what does this actually mean?

Associate Professor Ray Lovett standing in front of stone wall.

11 Nov 2020

Making culture count

Associate Professor Ray Lovett is proving the positive power of culture with data.

29 Sep 2020

Researchers find that sugar is the solution for looking at platelets

Researchers at ANU have found a way to look through the walls of microchambers used to study thrombus (blood clot) formation using light sheet microscopy.

Dr Nikolay Shirokikh

28 Sep 2020

Building a research career: it’s just like summiting Everest

Dr Shirokikh, a researcher at the ANU John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR), has spent his career talking to cells about how their genes are translated into proteins with the help of a molecule called RNA.

Dr Ellie Paige

28 Sep 2020

Dr Ellie Paige: the life-changing decisions shaping a research career in population health

Dr Ellie Paige was always interested in science. From a young age, she would confidently tell people she would be a biomedical scientist when she grew up.

James O'Connor sitting at a computer

23 Sep 2020

$50 dye could change the way we design malaria vaccines

“It is a tricky technique to get right, but when it works… it's really stunning science.”

23 Sep 2020

Cancer research improves in three dimensions

“The 3D printing process can be applied to all sorts of cells and tumour types.”