2023 student grant winner

Alexander Dindial


is a Ph.D. student at the Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling in Scotland. He has a multidisciplinary research background from studies in the United States and United Kingdom, where here is now studying copepods. His overarching objective is to develop in vitro culture methods and assays for the salmon louse, Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Krøyer, 1837).
L. salmonis is a major ectoparasite of salmonid fish in the Northern Hemisphere and presents a major financial and welfare challenge in salmon aquaculture. Unfortunately, the culture of this parasitic caligid is not currently possible without the use of a live fish hosts, prompting further welfare and financial concerns. His work seeks to ameliorate these issues through two primary strategies. Firstly, he is investigating means of studying L. salmonis interactions with its Atlantic salmon host through the implementation of parasite secretions in a cell culture-based assay. He hopes this work will provide both a deeper understanding of the L. salmonis secretome and its effects on the transcriptome of salmon epithelial cells, as well as insights into the development of novel in vitro assays for L. salmonis. Secondly, here is investigating novel in vitro culture systems for L. salmonis based upon established culture strategies for other ectoparasites, including through the exploitation of various salmon tissues and structures including scales, skin, blood, and serum.
It is his hope that this work will help expand our knowledge of L. salmonis host-parasite interactions and serve as a step forward in improving animal welfare in aquaculture.