Abigail graduated from the University of Aberdeen with MSci (Hons) Genetics and Immunology in June 2018. During her undergraduate studies she undertook a year long industrial placement with MedImmune Ltd in Cambridge, UK where she researched transcriptomic changes in the glomeruli of mouse models of chronic kidney disease. During the year she also became a Royal Society of Biology Registered Scientist (RSci). Abigail also undertook a summer research project with Marine Scotland Science in Aberdeen. Originally from the Scottish Highlands, Abigail’s farming background has strongly influenced her research interests. She is passionate about investigating factors which impact the agricultural industry and is fascinated by how livestock genetics influences product yield and disease susceptibility.
Abigail is currently undertaking her PhD with The Pirbright Institute and The University of Southampton under the mentorship of Prof John Hammond and Prof Salim Khakoo. Her research looks to discover ligands for cattle natural killer cell receptors and subsequently investigate how genetic variation in receptor and ligand influences their interaction with each other, and how this influences the outcome of viral infection. Understanding this key area of innate immunology and the impact of genetics on viral infection outcome has the potential to improve natural herd resilience to viral infection and aid production of more effective vaccines.
In addition to her PhD studies, Abigail has been an active STEM Ambassador since 2015 and thoroughly enjoys taking part in public engagement activities. She is also currently coordinating The Pirbright Institute student badminton club.
Brenda Page Memorial Prize in Genetics – University of Aberdeen, 2018
Student Public Engagement Award – The Pirbright Institute, Student Day 2019