Aquaculture

Maeve Ballantyne [Alumni]

Previously: Bean Group, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Current Research

Maeve Ballantyne joined the aquaculture team in 2021, having already worked at Roslin.

Having recently joined the team, I look forward to uncovering some of the genetic and functional basis of disease resistance in aquaculture species. In my previous research I produced genome edited livestock animals (chicken and pig) to investigate genetic variants potentially underling tropical adaptation and disease resilience traits. In my aquaculture research, I will be using the same GE tools, CRISPR/Cas9, to validate genes and genetic variants that have been associated with Infectious Salmon Anaemia virus (ISAV) resistance in Atlantic salmon, with the ultimate goal of using these findings in farmed salmon genetic breeding programs for ISAV resistance. I also aim to help improve the current pipelines used to produce GE aquaculture species.

 

Favourite aquaculture species

Palaemonetes paludosus.

 

Background

As an undergraduate student I studied Genetics and Molecular Biology at Glasgow University. During my PhD I studied the role of a putative gene associated with African Swine Fever resilience in pigs using the then-novel genome editing tool, CRISPR/Cas9.

For my postdoc I stayed at the Roslin Institute, transferring my skills using CRISPR/Cas9 into work involving poultry. My main project entailed using genome editing to validate feather trait alleles in a novel inducible sterile surrogate host chicken line.

Some of these accomplishments made in the chicken are also applicable in fish which brings me to my current position within the aquaculture department. During this postdoc I’m keen to learn more about virology and contribute to research with an overall goal of improving animal health.

  • [2007-2011]        BSc (Hons) Genetics (University of Glasgow)

  • [2011-2012]        MSc Systems Biology (Aberdeen University) 

  • [2012-2017]        PhD Animal Genomics and Disease Resistance (Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh)

  • [2017-2021]        Postdoctoral Fellow, Gene editing for precision breeding in chicken (Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh)

  • [2021-2023]        Postdoctoral Fellow, Disease Resistance in aquaculture (Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh).

 

Interests, hopes and dreams

I don’t have as much time for hobbies now that I have a young daughter but I enjoy all the small things; walking the dog, outings to the seaside, music, baking, and meeting up with family and friends. My dream is to make a discovery that leads to a positive impact on sustainable farming and I hope for peace in the world, and a moment’s peace and quiet to myself wouldn’t go amiss either!