Dr Vicky Sleight

Principal Investigator
Lecturer in Marine Biology (Assistant Professor = USA equiv. )

Vicky is in love with evolution and development – aka “evo-devo”. Through a range of undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral experiences she has found her way to marine invertebrates and seashells as an inspiring and powerful system to understand fundamental questions in animal evolution and development. Vicky earned a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Marine Biology from the University of Plymouth and a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from Heriot-Watt University and the British Antarctic Survey. She held a Junior Research Fellowship from Wolfson College in the Department of Zoology at University of Cambridge (2017-2020) and two Whitman Center Fellowships at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, USA (summers 2018 & 2019).

PhD Students:
Danielle Jordan

Danielle is a PhD student in the EASTBIO DTP studying calcium transport mechanisms in shellfish biomineralization using CRISPR-cas9 genome editing. She earned her BSc in Marine Biology from the University of Rhode Island in the United States, and then worked as a research assistant at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. There, she used CRISPR-cas9 to study the evolution of sex chromosomes in the Xenopus genus and making CRISPR mutants as models for human disease. Her research with the Sleight lab blends her love of invertebrate developmental biology and genetics. 

Outside of research, Danielle enjoys diving, hiking, yoga, and reading an obscene amount of books. 

Molly Rivers


Molly is a PhD student in the Sleight Lab researching the developmental pathways behind superior resilience to ocean acidification of an invasive slipper snail (Crepidula fornicata). She studied her undergraduate degree in Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology at the University of Plymouth. After graduating with a keen interest in research she worked as a research assistant for Nekton, a deep-sea research charity based in Oxford. During this time she gained research experience at sea and in the lab. After several years working in research and wanting to pursue this career she moved to Newfoundland, Canada, to study for her master’s in marine biology at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. Her MSc research focussed on the behavioural ecology and temperature tolerance of the invasive European green crab (Carcinus maenas). After realising ecology was not her research passion, she followed her love for lab work and evolutionary biology to find her home with the Sleight Lab. 


Angus Taylor (UHI/SAMS)

Angus is a PhD student in the SUPER DTP, based primarily at University of the Highlands and Islands/Scottish Association for Marine Science in Oban with primary supervisor Dr Helena Reinardy. His research looks at the multistressor impacts of ocean acidification on the biomineralisation and regeneration of coastal sea urchins. After gaining is BSc in Biological Sciences from Heriot-Watt University, he spent the next 7 years working in aquarium laboratories: first as a technician in a biomedical zebrafish facility at the University of Edinburgh; and then as a research technician in a radioecology laboratory for the International Atomic Energy Agency in Monaco. His research there used novel radiotracer techniques to investigate climate stressors, primarily microplastics and ocean acidification, on a wide range of marine species from algae to cuttlefish. His current research links ecology and molecular biology to understand the mechanisms of regeneration and biomineralisation in urchins, within an environmental context.

Research Assistants & Technicians:
Dr Sue Phillips (Technician)

The Sleight Lab is supported by Dr Sue Phillips, an extremely talented School of Biological Sciences technician. Sue joined the school with extensive experience in academic and industry molecular biology research. Since completing her PhD at the University of Aberdeen in 2004, Sue has worked at Pfizer, Scotia Biologics, the NHS and University of Miami and we are extremely grateful she has returned to Aberdeen.

Dr Kaja Kostanjevec (Research Assisstant)

Dr Kaja Kostanjevec is now a post-doc in the Collinson Lab.

In the Sleight Lab, Kaja is working to optimize scRNA-seq protocols.

BSU Animal Technicians

The Sleight Lab is very grateful for the University of Aberdeen team of technicians from the Biological Services Unit (BSU) who look after the aquarium!

Undergraduate & Masters Project Students:
Parisa Kanipour (MSc student)

Parisa is a marine biologist studying an MSc degree in Marine and Fishery Science, her BSc degree was in Aquaculture. Parisa’s passion for marine life started at a young age when she spent summers fishing, inspiring her to pursue a career in marine biology and work towards preserving our oceans and its inhabitants. Parisa’s honours project was focused on improving the immune system in common carp. In the Sleight lab, she is studying gene expression in the immune system of shellfish.

In the future, Parisa hopes to continue developing her expertise in marine and fishery science by working in research and conservation, or pursuing a Ph.D.  In her free time, you can find Parisa swimming or reading books.



Past members:

Namitha Paul (2022 – MSc project student)

Kathleen Reynolds (2022 – MSc project student)

Kallen Sullivan (2021 – MSc project student), now PhD student with Tim Bean on the EASTBIO DTP programme

Eilidh Player (2021 – MSc project student), now technician in the Microscopy and Histology core facility in the University of Aberdeen

Sofia Varvaresou  (2021 – Hons project student)

Rory Hutchenson (2020 – Hons project student)