Hannah Farley

Bean Group, PhD student

Current research

My PhD project focuses around characterising and determining the role of the microbiome in the development of the larval stages of oysters, specifically Crassostrea gigas.

Understanding more about the role of the microbiome in this way will allow us to determine better control methods for large scale mortality events in oyster hatcheries. These mortality events come at a huge economic loss for the industry and make for less sustainable food production.

My project will entail initial characterisation of the microbiome, virome and physicochemical environments in both hatchery and experimental systems, followed by several forms of hypothesis-driven manipulation. My project will also aim to find an alternative to using antibiotics in hatcheries as antibiotic resistance becomes an increasing risk to hatchery productivity. I look forward to visiting my government partner, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), visiting different hatcheries for sample collection, and learning new experimental techniques such as bacterial culture methods and nanopore sequencing technologies.


Favourite aquaculture species

Crassostrea gigas!



I completed my undergraduate degree at Bangor University in North Wales. It was here where I became interested in microbiome-related research when working on an environmental microbiology project studying cellulose-degrading bacteria from landfill sites. I then went on to complete my MSc in Tropical Disease Biology at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM). Here I enjoyed learning about the world of parasite and vector biology and how research in these areas can help ease disease prevalence in some of the most resource-limited countries in the world. I was also able to continue my interest in microbial work here through my research project where I designed a non-destructive assay technique for the determination of the Aedes aegypti microbiome.

  • [2015 – 2018]            BSc Biology with Biotechnology (Bangor University)
  • [2018 – 2019]            MSc Tropical Disease Biology (LSTM)
  • [2020 – Present]      PhD in the Houston aquaculture group (Roslin institute, University of Edinburgh).


Interests, hopes and dreams

Outside of my studies, I love all things animal-related and also enjoy running, baking and watercolour painting.