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Bertie Knight 

PhD Project: Cross-national genomic surveillance of viral pathogens to support disease control in Atlantic salmon aquaculture

Supervised by: Prof. Dan Macqueen and Dr Samantha Lycett (The Roslin Institute)

Industry Partner: Pharmaq (

Postgraduate research

My PhD work is centred on viral pathogens that cause high rates of morbidity and mortality within the aquaculture industry – Salmon Alphavirus (SAV), Piscine Orthoreovirus (PRV) and Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis Virus (IPNV). During this project, I will design robust, high-throughput sequencing assays for these viruses to increase the number of publicly available full genome sequences for study. With these sequences, I will bioinformatically investigate viral evolution, transmission dynamics and molecular epidemiology, which I hope will contribute to decision making on infectious disease control measures within the aquaculture industry.

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Biography and previous work

I completed my undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences (Microbiology and Infectious Disease) at the University of Exeter. During this time I developed an interest in virology which lead me to undertake a Master’s in Medical Microbiology (Virology) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. My Master’s research project investigated the variation within the GII.4 Norovirus minor capsid protein and whether this variation could be used to predict pandemic emergence events. This research further developed my interest in the use of sequencing, sequence data and bioinformatics to study viral evolution. After my master’s I worked for the Respiratory Virus Unit at the UK Health Security Agency working within the SARS-CoV-2, Adenovirus and Influenza teams. 

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