The program seeks to develop the future leaders of clinical innovation by offering an opportunity to integrate pre-PhD, PhD and initial post-PhD research training with completion of vocational training of the highest standard. Bespoke and tailored towards the research direction of each successful candidate, MACH-Track is flexibly designed to adapt to any specialist college-accredited discipline.

“MACH-Track is a new program that allows promising recently-qualified doctors to integrate career development in research, including a PhD, with completion of postgraduate specialist or generalist training. This exciting new scheme is a pilot for medical workforce development that will ensure our nation has the research-active clinical innovators it needs to ensure a healthy future for all Australians.”

Professor Sir John Savill, MACH Executive Director 

Meet our successful MACH-Track candidates

We are delighted to announce our inaugural MACH-Track trainees who have commenced in  2021.  The trainees are completing their first year in the program continuing their clinical specialty training, and at the same time, undertaking a number off mini-projects in preparation for their PhD years starting in 2022. We will be sharing the latest updates on their work in our newsletters, on twitter and on our website.

  • Dr Emma Boehm

    Dr Emma Boehm completed a Bachelor of Science in 2010 and graduated with distinction as part of the first cohort of the Melbourne MD in 2014. She has worked in wet labs including the MCRI (UROP Scholarship), and the WEHI throughout her MD.

    Her clinical training and first year of endocrinology advanced training was at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and she is currently in her second year of endocrinology training at Western Health. She will start dual training in Nuclear Medicine in 2021 and aims to use the knowledge obtained in these two specialties to investigate neuroendocrine tumour biology and treatment.

  • Dr Thomas Lew

    Dr Thomas Lew is a Haematology trainee at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, with a passionate drive to improve care for patients with haematological malignancies.

    At Monash University, while obtaining a first-class honours at the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, he received the Scholarship for Excellence and the Australian Medical Association Student Prize .

    His research into novel agents for haematological malignancies has been published in multiple journals, including Blood and Cancer Discovery. Dr Lew has received numerous young investigator awards for presentations at international haematology conventions.

  • Dr Ryan McMahon

    Dr Ryan McMahon is a current Radiation Oncology trainee based at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Dr McMahon completed his Medical Degree at the University of Melbourne in 2014 and then his Internship and Resident training at St. Vincent’s Hospital.

    He has an interest in investigating the role of combined immunotherapy and radiotherapy in the management of solid organ malignancies.

  • Dr Maitri Munsif

    Dr Maitri Munsif is in her second year of Respiratory & Sleep Advanced training at Austin Health. She completed her Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery at the University of Tasmania and Respiratory advanced training at Alfred Health.

    She holds a Masters of Public Health (USYD), is involved in several national college and specialty training committees and is a member of the writing group for acute oxygen guidelines. She teaches medical students regularly through the Austin Clinical School with the University of Melbourne.

    Maitri aspires to be an outstanding clinical researcher and academic leader. Through MACH-Track, she hopes to pursue a PhD in advanced lung disease, specifically Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), evaluating treatable traits followed by targeted treatment interventions. She hopes that to improve the treatment paradigm for these patients to ultimately reduce hospital admissions and improve their quality of life.

  • Dr Brent Venning

    Dr Brent Venning is a General Practice Registrar with a background in public health and research interests in the early recognition and diagnosis of cancer in primary care. He graduated from medicine at the University of Wollongong in 2016 with first prizes in medicine, pharmacology, paediatrics and surgery.

    He has developed further skills in epidemiology and health services research through the completion of a Master of Public Health with Excellence at the University of New South Wales.

    Dr Venning was awarded a competitive academic post through the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, where he will be undertaking a discrete choice experiment relating to polygenic cancer risk scores in primary care, with Professor Jon Emery and the Cancer in Primary Care Research Group at the University of Melbourne.



The next MACH-Track intake will begin in 2022 and run over 5 – 6 years:

Year 1: Pre-PhD start year of the program – 80% clinical (vocational) training / 20% PhD preparation

Years 2 – 4: PhD scholarship (2023 – 2025) – 80% PhD / 20% clinical role

Year 5: Post-PhD: 80% clinical (vocational) training / 20% preparation for post-doctoral fellowship application

Years 6 and 6+: As for Year 5 to completion of clinical (vocational) training and, ideally, a post-doctoral fellowship


MACH-Track scholarships will be awarded to five candidates who are undertaking training in any AMC recognised specialty including General Practice and Public Health. There will be additional opportunities for candidates with a specific interest in brain cancers and Parkinson’s Disease.

Any Australian Medical Council accredited specialist medical college training program leading to fellowship of the specialist medical college.


Specimen PhD Projects Available
To give applicants a flavour of the range of PhD opportunities available for candidates to consider during Year 1 of MACH-Track, here is a selection of projects that will be on offer. There will be a “taster” Year 1 mini-project available for each substantive 3-year PhD project:


Centre for Eye Research Australia

  • Satellite imaging to transform detection of diabetic retinopathy and other retinal vascular diseases
  • Repair of the cornea to restore vision: Translation to a Surgical Repair Device
  • Neuronal responses to mitochondrial DNA haplogroups.

Department of General Practice

  • Utilising technology to optimise the management of heart failure in primary care
  • The clinical utility of pharmacogenomic testing to inform antidepressant prescribing in primary care.

Florey Institute

  • Investigating the Role of Epigenetics in Multiple Sclerosis
  • Developing novel therapies to harness the progression of Multiple Sclerosis.

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

  • Understanding disease mechanisms and outcomes in Australian children with acute stroke using sophisticated blood and neuroimaging biomarkers
  • Taking placenta to scale: The population burden of disordered placentation and placental function
  • Early life inflammation in non-communicable childhood disease.

National Ageing Research Institute

  • A tool for predicting prolonged grief in family carers of people living with dementia
  • Identifying elder abuse in medical settings
  • Enhancing 3D (dementia, delirium, depression) care for older people in residential care via micro-learning.

Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute

  • Strategies to enhance the efficacy of targeted therapies in gastrointestinal cancers
  • a) Improving tyrosine kinase inhibitors-based therapies for metastatic Her2+ breast cancer
    b) Investigating the contribution of matrix/integrin signalling in breast cancer metastasis and therapy resistance
  • a) Deploying novel technologies to identify resistance mechanisms in patients with haematological malignancies receiving targeted therapies
    b) Identifying new strategies for minimum residual disease monitoring to optimise response assessment in myeloid & lymphoid malignancies.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

  • Understanding the behaviour of cancer at single cell resolution
  • Improving management of infections in cancer
  • Clinical investigation of the immune response to radiotherapy and immunotherapy.

Walter & Eliza Hall Institute

  • Translational research into haematological malignancies
  • Utilising pre-clinical models to discover novel therapies for tuberculosis
  • Hyposplenism in coeliac disease.

For more information about these specialisations, contact Senior Project Officer– Meredith Bickley


  • The MACH-Track pathway is open to doctors training in any recognised medical specialty, including General Practice and Public Health. Applicants should have won a place in a Melbourne-centred vocational training program approved by the relevant Royal/Specialist College; for specialties with two-stage programs (eg physicians) trainees should have secured a place in an advanced training program.
  • Applicants must be currently in post in one of the ten MACH-affiliated health services, or be on a training rotation that will bring the candidate to a MACH-affiliated health service by February 2022. General Practice trainees will require sponsorship by the University of Melbourne Department of General Practice.


The selection committee will base its assessment on the application form, applicant career aspiration, CV and referee reports.

Applications should be sent to [email protected] and must include:

  1. A letter of application no longer than 500 words explaining why the applicant wants to pursue PhD training through the MACH-Track, to include broad areas of research interest;
  2. Brief details of the candidate’s vocational training program, with dates and location of each attachment; proposed end date; and details of the relevant College training committee including email contact for the lead College administrator;
  3. Full CV, to include details of any research experience and how findings were reported or disseminated (e.g. abstract presentation at meeting);
  4. A brief letter of support from an academic referee able to comment on the candidate’s potential for completing a PhD;
  5. A brief letter from the candidate’s current clinical training supervisor confirming that the candidate is making satisfactory progress in vocational training and stating support for the candidate seeking flexibility in clinical training, if appointed.
    For General Practice trainees, a brief note from A/Prof Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis confirming sponsorship by the University of Melbourne Department of General Practice.

Candidates short-listed for interview will be informed at the end of August 2021.

Interviews will be held at the end of September 2021 ahead of a February 2022 start.

End June 2021: Applications open

2 August 2021: Applications close at 5 PM (AEST)

End August 2021: Invitations sent out to short-listed candidates for interviews

End September 2021: Interviews are conducted

February 2022: Successful applicants to start their MACH-Track journey


MACH-Track Co-Directors

The MACH-Track Co-Directors are:

Associate Professor Margie Danchin

Group Leader, Vaccine Uptake, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute; Paediatrician, Department of General Medicine,The Royal Children’s Hospital; A/Prof and David Bickart Clinician Scientist Fellow, Department of Paediatrics and School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne; Director Clinician Scientist pathways, The University of Melbourne Chair, Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation (COSSI).

Professor Mark Dawson

Associate Director for Research Translation; Consultant Haematologist; Program Head, Cancer Biology & Therapeutics; Head, Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Professor Kate Drummond AM

Neurosurgeon; Director of Neurosurgery, RMH; Head of Central Nervous System Tumours, VCCC, Parkville Precinct.

Prof Hui K. Gan
Director, Cancer Clinical Trials Unit, Austin Health; Clinical Research Lead and Co-Director, Centre for Research Excellence in Brain Cancer Research, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute.

Associate Professor Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis
Academic General Practitioner and Lead, Data Driven Quality Improvement Research Theme, Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne; Chair, RACGP Expert Committee – Research.