Robert Stewart

Robledo Group, PhD student

Current research

My research is funded by an EASTBIO case studentship, in partnership with Zoetis. The focus of this project is to study the post-translational regulation of the innate antiviral immune response in Atlantic salmon. Day to day, this means combining molecular biology techniques such as CRISPR-Cas genome editing with proteomics to study the host-pathogen interactions. As part of my PhD, I will be completing a placement with Zoetis, where I will investigate the use of ubiquitination adjuvants on commercial aquaculture vaccines. My goal for my PhD is to highlight the importance of post-translational modification in immune response and vaccine efficacy, with the hope that future gene editing, selective breeding, and vaccine strategies can utilise this information to produce more sustainable farmed fish.


Favourite aquaculture species

For the table – halibut; for the lab – Atlantic salmon.



I completed a biochemistry undergraduate degree and masters at the University of York - where I worked in structural biology of biofuel-producing enzymes. During my degree I completed a placement with Zoetis in Belgium, developing an ELISA for the detection of Bluetongue Virus.

After leaving York I started work at a contract research organisation, where I performed pre-clinical toxicology testing on pharmaceuticals, predominantly using mass spectroscopy. It was while waiting for my data to process on the mass spectrometer that I came across this PhD opportunity and I knew I had to apply!

  • [2013 – 2017]     Bsc Biochemistry, University of York
  • [2017-2018]        MBiochem, University of York - “Structural biology of small molecule activators of β Glucosidase”
  • [2018-2019]        Lab analyst, Covance; Phase 2/3 clinical trial large molecule (ELISA) sample analysis
  • [2019-2022]        Senior research associate, Labcorp; Development bioanalysis methods for support of pre-clinical toxicology and pharmacokinetic assessments
  • [2022-Current]  PhD Student, Roslin Institute


Interests, hopes and dreams

My lifelong hobby has been fishing, since I was four years old. I fish anywhere and anytime I am given the opportunity, whether that be fly fishing for brown trout on a Highland loch, or using whole salmon as bait to catch massive sturgeon in Canada. My biggest fish to date is a 300lb white sturgeon, caught with my friends on the Fraser River, Canada.  When I’m not fishing (or spending my stipend in the fishing shop) I’m usually at a CrossFit gym. My dream is to have career in aquaculture research where I can study fish during the week and try to catch them at the weekend.


Robert Stewart