Professor Samuel Martin

Professor Samuel Martin
Programme Leader: Integrative and Environmental Physiology

Personal Chair

Professor Samuel Martin
Professor Samuel Martin

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272867


International Centre for  aquaculture Research and Development (ICARD)

Scottish Fish Immunology Research Centre:

Google Scholar:

Research Gate:



River Don Trust





2014-present   Professor, Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences (IBES)

2012-2014 Reader, IBES, University of Aberdeen

2010-2012 Senior lecturer, IBES, University of Aberdeen

2007-2010 Lecturer IBES, University of Aberdeen

1999- 2007 Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen

1996-1999 Senior Research Officer, National Diagnostics Centre, NUI, Galway, Ireland

1993-1996 Postdoctoral RA, Department of Veterinary Parasitology, University of Glasgow

PhD Queens University Belfast 1993

BSc (Hons) Queens University Belfast 1989


Research Interests

1. Genomics in Aquaculture
2. Atlantic salmon transcriptomics
3. Nutrigenomics in farmed fish
4. Fish health and immunology
5. Life history stratagies and evolutionary adaptations in salmon

My research focuses on the control of physiological processes in fish at a molecular level. This is principally related to nutrition, health and life histories in salmonid fish.  The production of aquacultured fish is one of the fastest growing global food producing industries and as such it is imperative that we understand how health and growth in fish is controlled.  Within Scotland the Atlantic salmon industry is worth >£800M to the Scottish economy producing >150,000 tons of salmon per annum with a predicted increase to 300,000 tons by 2020 to exploit the Asian market. Globally now ~50% all consumed fish is reared in aquaculture.  My group uses a variety of genomcs approaches to address key tarits relating to improving the performance of fish in culture.

For wild salmonids I have a long term interest in the parr smolt transformation and the underlying regulation that controls this physiological process that controls both the migratory behaviour and the ability to osmoregulate in the marine environment.


Research Grants

 2018-2021 Improving resistance to infectious salmon anaemia using genome editing: Novel approaches to tackling viral disease in aquaculture (PI Prof Ross Houston, Roslin Institute) BBSRC

2017-2019 Clinical nutrition and the treatment of Atlantic salmon gill diseases. Funded by Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, (with BioMar and Scottish Sea farms).

2017-2019 Vaccines for chronic viral pathogens in salmon- generation of interferon attenuated cell lines. BBSRC /NERC Aquaculture Innovation

2017-2020 Functional annotation of the Atlantic salmon genome, translation to improved health and performance for Aquaculture (Partnering award with Canada) BBSRC

2017-2021 Gut leucocytes as a screen for the health impact of functional feeds. PhD studenship with Skretting (With Prof Secombes)

2017 Innovation for Health and Robustness in Aquculture  in NE India. NERC_BBSRC Innovation ODA scoping award

2017-2021 UK Aquaculture Initiative Network. Aquaculture Research Collaborative Hub -UK (ARCH-UK). NERC / BBSRC Aquaculture network.

2016-2018 Mucosal health and microbiota during sea lice parasitism: effect of oral delivery of immunomodulants. Newton Fund RCUK-CONICYT (Coordinated by Dr Dan Merrifield University of Plymouth).

2015-2017 Gut health and immune function: the emerging role of gut microbiota in sustainable aquaculture.  BBSRC / NERC aquaculture program (with Stirling University, Plymouth University and Royal Veterinary College, BioMar as industrial partner).

2015-2017. Epigenetic management of stress and disease resistance in Atlantic salmon. BBSRC / NERC aquaculture program. (Coordinated by Prof Carlos Garcia de Leaniz, University of Swansea)

2015-2019 Nutrigenomic approaches for development of sustainable fish feeds. PhD studentship. Funded from Ministry of Education, Malaysia.

2015-2019 The role of functional amino acids as regulators of metabolic pathways in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). (Industrial PhD studentship CLSM & BioMar). 

2015-2019  Light & Salt – thyroid hormone deiodinase paralogs and the evolution of complex life-history strategy. Research Council of Norway (International partner  led by Prof. David Hazlerigg, University of Tromso, Norway).

2015–2019 Characterization & exploitation of copy number variation in Atlantic salmon. BBSRC industrial CASE PhD studentship, Lead Dr Dan Macqueen.

2013-2017 Gut health and nutrition in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).  BBSRC EastBio PhD studentship

2013-2017 (Norwegian Research Council)  Salmon health and immune function during parr smolt transformation.  (Coordinated by Dr Sonal Patel, Bergen, Norway)

2013-2016 The Molecular Interactions between Growth and Health Status in Salmonid Fish. PhD studentship  (Kuwait University sponsor) 

2011-2016 Development of protein-rich and starch-rich fractions from faba beans for salmon and terrestrial animal production respectively.  Technology Strategy Board, UK. (Coordinated by Dr Crampton, EWOS)

2013 MASTS visiting Fellow (Dr E Mente).  Gene expression and health relating to organic feeds in aquaculture

2011-2014  Nutritional requirements during viral induced muscle wasting in Atlantic salmon (Industrial PhD studentship CLSM & BioMar)

2011-2014 Selenium as an antiviral agent in farmed fish (Industrial PhD studentship with Alltech, with Prof Secombes and Dr Wang)

2010-2014  Application of nutrigenomics to develop new diets that reduce lice burden in Atlantic salmon (With Dr A Bowman & Dr JMO Fernandes, Bodo University College, Norway) Industrial PhD studentship with BioMar

2010-2014   Farm animal proteomics.  EU COST, Coordinated Prof D. Eckersall, University of Glasgow, UK

2010-2014 The physiological and genomic basis to the timing of life history transitions in Atlantic salmon.   BBSRC (with Prof Hazlerigg) 

2008-2011: Evolutionary dynamics of major histocompatibility genes in Arctic charr. NERC (with Prof Rene Stet and Dr W.C. Jordan, IOZ London)

2009-2013: LIFECYCLES: Building a biological knowledge-base on fish lifecycles for competitive, sustainable European aquaculture.  Coordinated Prof T. Bjornsson, University of Gotenburg, Sweden, CoPI with Prof Secombes

2009-2012: A systems biology based approach to functionally annotate and analyse the genome of the fish pathogenic oomycete Saprolegnia parasitica.  BBSRC (with Prof Secombes & Dr P. Van West)

2008-2011: Molecular basis of improved feed quality for aquaculture.  Industrial PhD studentship with BioMar

2009-2010: Modulation of muscle atrophy gene expression in Atlantic salmon following an inflammatory response.  Royal Society

2009-2012: The molecular basis endocrine and immune modulation of protein metabolism in salmonid fish, a model for ectothermic animals.  BBSRC studentship.

2009-2010: Ubiquitin E3 ligases as controllers of protein wastage in fish.  CLSM Pump priming

2009: Immune control of energy reallocation in fish  (with Dr S Bird).  British Society of Animal Science/Genesis Faraday 2009


Teaching Responsibilities


1st year Introduction to Biological Sciences (BI1008)

1st year Diversity of life 1, (BI1012)

1st year Diversity of life 2, (BI1512, Course Coordinator)

3rd year Aquatic Biology, Conservation and Exploitation  (ZO3809)

3rd year Skills, Bioinformatics unit (BI3010)

4th year Sustainable Aquaculture (ZO4811, Course Coordinator)

4th year Grant Writing for MSci degree programme (BI4015, Course coordinator)

MSc Applied Marine and Fisheries Ecology, Aquaculture  (ZI5505, Unit Coordinator)

MSci  Degree programme coordinator


Outreach to Schools: "Trout in the Classroom". I teach about ecology and fish in the river Don by growing fish from eggs to fry in the classroom. (Kemnay Academy 2008, Inverurie Academy 2009, Strathburn School 2010).

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Scottish Excetutive Ministerial Advisory Group for Aquaculture

MASTS: Productive seas/ aquaculture forum member

Coordinator for "New technologies in fish nutrition" European Aquaculture Technology Implementation Platform

Editorial Board Member : Journal of Aquaculture Research and Development

Board of Directors, River Don Trust

Admin Responsibilities

Program leader Integrative and Environmental Physiology

Mentor for new lecturer staff members

Degree program coordinator MSci Biology

Teaching Committee (SBS)


Research Projects

 Research Projects

Molecular basis of improved feed quality for aquaculture

The replacement of fish meal and fish oils using vegetable proteins and vegetable oils is hampered by "antinutritional factors" that can be co purified, leading to metabolic dysfunction in the fish.  This results in undesirable affects including reduced digestibility, reduced food conversion, gut inflammation, altered immune function and reduction in growth.  This project will examine the resulting gene expression modifications in fish fed alternate diets, and help identify key molecular markers which will assist in the selection of new diets regarding performance and health of the fish. Student: Luca Tacchi. 

Evolutionary dynamics of major histocompatibility genes in Arctic charr,  

 Arctic charr (Savelinus alpinus), in common with many salmonid species, show great variability within and across localities. A number of morphotypes of charr coexist in various freshwater systems and differ in characteristics such as body size and spawning coloration, external and internal morphology and parasite fauna. Differences in parasite faunas are likely to create differences in the types of natural selection experienced by different morphs and subsequent differentiation at loci involved in the immune response. The highly polymorphic major histocompatibility (MH) genes are likely targets for such selection. MH class I and class II molecules are instrumental in eliciting an immune response, which results in elimination or control of the pathogen. We will isolate and characterize the MH class I and class II genes from Arctic charr and use the cDNA sequence information to genotype charr populations from different localities.  





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