About the Project
Aquaculture is the fastest growing human food sector worldwide. Global consumption of farm produced fish and shellfish has exceeded that from wild capture fisheries with further growth being crucial to the improvement of human food security globally. The UK Atlantic salmon industry is currently worth > £1.8 Billion per year to the UK economy. However, reduction of stress in aquaculture practices and improved fish growth and disease resilience are key challenges that need to be addressed to improve sustainability and industry growth. Stress associated with fish handling leads to suppressed immunity and increased disease susceptibility, with crosstalk between stress and immune responses not fully understood. This project will, therefore, utilize physiological and cutting-edge molecular approaches to gain a deeper understanding of stress and immune interactions during health and disease. New data will help pinpoint gene markers that to help inform on future stress and disease mitigation strategies in fish management practices.
Recent results from our lab have begun to unravel fish immune and stress interactions. This PhD will use whole animal and cell culture models to investigate (non)infectious stressors and how key stress hormones and immune proteins influence immune and endocrine cells respectively. In vitro and in vivo work will incorporate single cell transcriptomic sequencing (scRNA-Seq) combining physiological and state-of-the-art molecular techniques. scRNA-Seq will differentiate fish immune and stress hormone-producing cells under different physiological conditions, enabling a deep understanding of fish immune-endocrine interactions during health and disease.
This project is highly relevant to the improvement of Atlantic salmon production and links to existing collaborative projects at the Scottish Fish Immunology Research Centre (SFIRC) at Aberdeen and Stirling. The project will be supervised by Dr Holland and Prof Martin at University of Aberdeen and Dr Monaghan at University of Stirling. SFIRC is a world leader in fish immunology with a focus on fish health, host-pathogen interactions and nutrition using state-of-the-art functional gemomics, including scRNA-Seq available within Aberdeen’s Centre for Genome Enabled Biology and Medicine. SFIRC labs are equipped for physiological, cellular, and molecular approaches with access to state-of-the-art aquarium and pathogen challenge facilities. Excellent training opportunities are available in cell culture, molecular and physiological techniques, including respirometry, histology, qRT-PCR, and enzyme-based assays to determine serum hormone levels. All training needs will be provided by the project team, including bioinformatics at Aberdeen and other courses as required.
Please visit this page for full application information: BBSRC EASTBIO Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship | The School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition | The University of Aberdeen (abdn.ac.uk)
Please send your completed EASTBIO application form, along with academic transcripts to Alison Innes at [email protected]
Two references should be provided by the deadline using the EASTBIO reference form.
Please advise your referees to return the reference form to [email protected]
Unfortunately due to workload constraints, we cannot consider incomplete applications
Dr Jason W Holland – School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen – [email protected]
Dr Sean Monaghan – Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling – [email protected]
Professor Sam Martin – School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen – [email protected]
This 4 year PhD project is part of a competition funded by EASTBIO BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership.
This opportunity is open to home/UK candidates (including EU nationals that hold UK settled or pre-settled status) and provides funding to cover a stipend and tuition fees. Please refer to UKRI website and Annex B of the UKRI Training Grant Terms and Conditions for full eligibility criteria.
Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a 2:1 UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in a relevant subject.
Thursday, May 26, 2022