Fiona Bakke

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PhD Project: Development of proteomics approaches for comparative and evolutionary immunology




Prof. Sam Martin. School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen: Co-supervisor & fish health/physiology expert.

Dr David Stead. Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen: Co-supervisor & mass spectrometry / proteomics expert.

Dr Helen Dooley. University of Maryland: Co-supervisor & immunology expert.

Postgraduate research


I’m in the third year of a 4-year BBSRC funded PhD studentship (EASTBIO program) investigating comparative and evolutionary immunology.  My PhD project involves developing a quantitative proteomics platform to monitor immune responses in vertebrates outside mammals, initially studying rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum).  I am also assembling and annotating a high-quality multi-tissue transcriptome for the nurse shark.  I aim to broaden our knowledge of the evolution and functioning of the immune system, and to formulate methods of using mass spectroscopy-based targeted proteomics for use in the study of non-model vertebrate lineages.


Biography and previous work


I previously graduated with a first class BSc (Hons) in Zoology from the University of Aberdeen in 2016 and was awarded the Darwin Anniversary Prize for outstanding performance amongst all graduating students in the School of Biological Sciences.  My 4th year honours research project, which will be published later this year, investigated the tumour necrosis factor superfamily in an elasmobranch shark (the small-spotted catshark Scyliorhinus canicula) and was part of a wider investigation into a complex immune gene family. In my free time I enjoy hiking and wildlife photography and, if I can get the time off, doing fieldwork in Scotland and on conservation expeditions abroad.