Carolina Penaloza [Alumni]

Robledo Group, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Current research

Carolina Peñaloza

I am using a high-throughput genotyping platform (SNP array) to investigate disease resistance in European oyster (Ostrea edulis) populations exposed to Bonamia, a deadly parasite. Native oyster populations exhibit natural variation in genetic resistance (i.e. some oysters get sick, others less sick, whereas others die). The aim of my project is to identify regions of the oyster genome that are associated with this phenotypic variation, and then utilise this information for the improvement of innate resistance to Bonamia via selective breeding.


Favourite aquaculture species

Chilean mussel (Mytilus chilensis).



Early in my undergraduate studies as a marine biologist I became interested in applied genetics. As part of my undergraduate thesis, I used molecular markers to investigate whether the invasive Mediterranean mussel was present in the Chilean coast. Then I won a scholarship from my government and moved to the UK to keep working on shellfish genetics.

The focus of my postgraduate research was to try to understand why shellfish display unusual patterns of inheritance and how this may affect typical breeding strategies.

  • [2009]           BSc Marine Biology (Austral University)
  • [2011]           Research assistant (Austral University and Los Lagos University)
  • [2013]           MPhil (Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh)
  • [2017]           PhD (Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh)
  • [2019]           Postdoctoral Research Fellow – Development of a combined-species SNP chip for sea bass and sea bream (MedAID project, EU funded)
  • [Present]     Postdoctoral Research Fellow – Investigating Genetic Resistance to Bonamia in the European flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) (funded by Blue Marine Foundation).


Interests, hopes and dreams

I have not yet discovered my hobby. In the meantime, I enjoy exploring different amateur activities such as jewellery making, singing, building 3D paper sculptures, vegan cheese making, and more. Currently I am entertaining myself creating a collection of marine invertebrate portraits for my kitchen wall.