“I love the diversity of my office and lab! People come from all over the world to do PhDs at Aberdeen”

“The campus itself is beautiful, with the centuries-old buildings and botanical gardens making a great place to wander around on a sunny day.  The city itself also has a lot to offer, with a 2 mile long beach, a resident pod of dolphins and an amazing selection of restaurants and bars for when the weather isn’t so nice! I love the diversity of my office and lab! People come from all over the world to do PhDs at Aberdeen, and in my office alone there are 6 different nationalities.”

“I have developed a broad range of skills applicable to numerous roles, giving me a considerable advantage when applying for future jobs!”

I decided to study at the University of Aberdeen because it was the only university in the UK that offered a master’s course in fisheries ecology, as well as an introductory course in coding and statistics. The University of Aberdeen also has strong links with industry, which enabled me to complete my final master’s project with the government run organisation, Marine Scotland. This grounding in statistics, paired with my industry experience, directly led to me being awarded the PhD studentship that I am currently completing. There are a number of reasons for me deciding to stay at Aberdeen for my PhD. These include the opportunity for travel that my PhD has given me, and the amazing staff that make up the school of biological sciences. The variety of laboratory facilities available and the opportunities for additional post graduate training courses mean that I have developed a broad range of skills applicable to numerous roles, giving me a considerable advantage when applying for future jobs!

“The main aim of my research is to develop a clinical diet for use in Atlantic salmon aquaculture”

“The main aim of my research is to develop a clinical diet for use in Atlantic salmon aquaculture, with a focus on alleviating the symptoms of gill diseases such as amoebic gill disease (AGD). To do this, I am working with aquaculture feed specialists Cargill Aqua Nutrition. They run multiple clinical trials every year in order to test the effects of different compounds on AGD infected fish. Through molecular analysis (qPCR) of tissue samples taken from these trials I have been investigating which pathways are involved in AGD infection, and whether the diet additives are influencing this response in any way. I have also used bioinformatics techniques to perform some gene discovery and characterisation in order to assess how particular host defence genes are involved.”

“A clinical diet that can reduce the severity of AGD would enable farmers to use fewer chemical treatments, reduce costs and improve the overall health and well-being of the fish.”

“AGD is a highly damaging disease to farmed salmon in both the UK and around the world, with up to 80% mortality if left untreated. Treatment options are limited however, and often expensive and highly stressful for the fish. The expansion of marine aquaculture can provide important sources of protein as well as jobs and economic stability, but infectious diseases such as AGD are making sustainable and environmentally safe growth difficult to achieve. The development of a clinical diet that can reduce the severity of AGD would enable farmers to use fewer chemical treatments, reduce costs and improve the overall health and well-being of the fish.”