Project Title: Epidemiological examination of Salmonid Rickettsial Septicaemia (SRS) in Irish Atlantic salmon farms (P230076)
Project Start Date: May 1st 2024
Application Closing Date: 12 noon Monday 29th January 2024
Funding: This Cullen Scholarship (Grant-Aid Agreement No. CS/23/002) will be administered by the Marine Institute and funded by the Institute under the Marine Research Programme with the support of the Irish Government.
Description: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a suitably qualified and strongly motivated graduate to undertake a PhD as part of a collaboration between the Marine and Freshwater Research Centre (www.mfrc-atu.ie) located in the Atlantic Technological University (Dublin Road Campus) (www.atu.ie) and the Marine Institute (www.marine.ie).
The PhD project will investigate Salmonid Rickettsial Septicaemia (SRS) in Atlantic salmon, a bacterial infection caused by the gram negative Piscrickettsia salmonis (P. salmonis). The frequency of occurrence of this disease has increased significantly in recent years whereby P. salmonis is now emerging as one of the main disease challenges for the Irish marine salmon farming industry. This PhD project will investigate the epidemiology of P. salmonis and will include longitudinal studies to determine SRS disease prevalence and seasonality. Culture cultivation methods for P. salmonis will also be developed. In addition, rapid, sensitive, quantifiable, and reliable molecular tests for P. salmonis using real-time PCR (qPCR) and digital droplet PCR (dPCR) will be established to detect SRS more accurately. One of the main objectives of this project will be the development of an effective vaccine for the protection of
salmon from SRS infection. Vaccine development will be accomplished using a reverse vaccinology (RV) approach, using computational methods to screen bacterial genomes in public databases to identify antigens for use in the SRS vaccine.