I graduated from Cardiff University in July 2015 with a BSc (Hons) in Biotechnology, which included a Professional Training Year focussed on identifying the sperm factor responsible for egg activation and subsequent development in mammals. Throughout my undergraduate, I have undertaken several genetics based modules which I thoroughly enjoyed and found extremely engaging. The underlying genetics and molecular basis of infectious pathogens has been a topic of interest throughout my studies. In January 2016 I was very fortunate to start a PhD studentship under the supervision of Prof Jo Cable (Cardiff), Dr Amy Ellison (Cardiff) and Dr Chris Williams (Environment Agency). The project aims to develop a novel, cost-effective and rapid method to screen for and genotype Saprolegnia parasitica strains found on fish hosts and within water samples. Saprolegnia parasitica is an oomycete that causes saprolegniasis, a well-known and increasing problem in aquaculture of salmonids and other fish species worldwide. This project will ultimately collect valuable information on the distribution, diversity, virulence and host-specificity of intraspecific strains found in farmed and wild fishes throughout the UK (with a specific focus on Welsh salmonid populations). This will contribute to the identification of potential pathways of infection and interactions between wild and farmed fish stocks.
This PhD studentship is funded by KESS, a major European Convergence programme which supports collaborative research projects with external partners based in the convergence area of Wales. The external partners that I will be working with include; a local aquaculture R&D company, Pontus Research and the Environment Agency. My partnership with Pontus Research will allow me to gain valuable experience working within commercial aquaculture research, while my work with the Environment Agency will involve monitoring and characterising pathogenic strains of Saprolegnia parasitica in wild fish stocks around the UK.
Location: Cardiff School of Biosciences, The Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Nomikos, M., Sanders, J.R., Theodoridou, M., Kashir, J., Matthews, E., Nounesis, G., Lai, F.A., Swann, K. (2014). Sperm-specific PAWP does not cause Ca2+ release in mouse oocytes. Molecular Human Reproduction. 20: 938-947.