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Becky Pawluk


In July 2014 I graduated from Aberystwyth University with a degree in Marine and Freshwater biology. While a student, I completed a lot of voluntary work, which increased my interest in research especially in areas such as parasitology, fish biology and the ‘omics (proteomics, genomics and transcriptomics). Proteomics was the focus of my undergraduate final year project where I was able to analyse excretory secretory products of the stickleback parasite Schistocephalus solidus, working with Prof. Peter Brophy and Dr Russell Morphew.

As one of my voluntary positions I worked with Prof. Stefano Mariani at Salford University on the life history traits of the parasitic mouth dwelling isopod, Ceratothoa italica and from this I was able to submit a short communication article.

My PhD at Swansea University that will be joint with Cardiff University (starting Oct 2014) investigates the genetic basis of pathogen resistance in farmed and wild fish populations under the pressures of inbreeding. This is supervised by Dr Sonia Consuegra and Prof Jo Cable.



Location: Department of Biosciences, Wallace Building, 
Swansea University, 
Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP

Funding: NERC funded CASE studentship


Final year project: The mechanisms of parasitic manipulation and communication, can proteomics provide the answers?

Many parasitic organisms manipulate host behaviour to increase their probability of transmitting successfully between hosts. Parasite protein secretions may control host manipulation and this was the focus of my project. Analysis of protein products released in vitro from isolated parasites and those in groups revealed that parasites in groups released less ES protein. Previous research suggests that this may give clues to the order in which parasites infect their hosts.

Voluntary work at Salford University: Host size constrains growth patterns in both female and male mouth-dwelling isopod, Ceratothoa italica.

At Salford University I investigated the size relationship between the mouth dwelling parasite Ceratothoa italica and its main natural host, the striped sea bream, Lithognathus mormyrus. Larger hosts tend to harbor larger male and female parasites. This correlation has been previously documented in other female Cymothoid isopods, but it is not widely recognized in males. The potential underlying biological causes of these patterns were discussed in relation to the evolution of host-parasite interactions, and the adaptive radiation of this family of parasitic isopods.


Pawluk, R., Ciampoli, M., & Mariani, S. (2014). Host size constrains growth patterns in both female and male mouth-dwelling isopod, Ceratothoa italica. Marine and Freshwater Research (in press).


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