PhD: Improving disease resilience in aquaculture in changing climates.
Location: University of Nottingham
I completed my joint undergraduate and postgraduate degree (MSci) in Biological Sciences at the University of Aberdeen in 2022 where I focused mainly on sustainable aquaculture and evolutionary parasitology.
My PhD aims to further the understanding of host-parasite dynamics leading to Proliferative Kidney Disease in Rainbow trout aquaculture. I already started investigating the parasite responsible for Proliferative Kidney Disease (PKD) in Salmonids during my master’s year at Aberdeen and became hooked on the story of climate change driven disease emergence, evolutionary parasitology and fish immunology.
My master thesis focused primarily on the source of unknown antigens (or so-called orphan antigens) in the parasite genome. I worked on trying to characterise one or more antigens that contained properties suitable for antibody production and therefore could be potential targets for vaccine development studies.
Now, during my PhD at the University of Nottingham, I am going to use Proliferative Kidney Disease as a model to examine links between farm and wild fish disease ecology and environmental immunity whilst looking for a more non-invasive (refined) method to diagnose fish exposed to PKD. I will be working alongside partners Rainbow trout aquaculture facilities in the UK where environmental DNA (eDNA) samples will be collected and used to monitor parasite concentration and fluctuations throughout the years