Lab members

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:
Sue Phillips (Technician)
Kaja Kostanjevec (Research Assisstant)
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:
Eilidh Player (MSc student)

Eilidh is a student on the Ecology and Conservation MSc programme, she has a BSc (Hons) degree in Countryside Management (now called Wildlife and Conservation) from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)/University of Glasgow and previous experience working as a Survey Assistant at The River Dee Trust, focusing on electrofishing in the River Dee and Don. Eilidh  enjoys biology, has always liked the marine environment and is a particularly fascinated by marine invertebrates. In the Sleight Lab, Eilidh is investigating the role of hemocyte cells in shell repair.

In her spare time, Eilidh can be found either outdoors doing some sort of outdoor pursuit, photographing the natural world or inside creating some sort of artwork.

Kallen Sullivan (MSc student)

Kallen grew up in Chicago in the USA, but always enjoyed spending her summers on the Massachusetts’ coast. After receiving her BSc in Marine Biology from the University of St Andrews, she began a research position at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine in Baltimore, where she expanded her knowledge of molecular techniques.  In the Sleight Lab, Kallen is combining her molecular biology expertise with a love for molluscs and marine life, her project is investigating the role of hemocyte cells in shell repair.

Although Scotland’s coasts may not be as warm as her summers spent on Cape Cod, you can still find her walking along the beaches of Aberdeen in her free time.

Sofia Varvaresou (Hons student)

Sofia is an undergraduate student in Biological Sciences with a strong interest in developmental biology. Having grown up on a Greek island, she loved to spend time by the sea and she was intrigued by marine life. In the Sleight Lab, Sofia is working on a systematic review project which investigates the signalling pathways and transcription factors that regulate early shell development in molluscs.

In her free time, Sofia enjoys dancing, picnics with a nice view and long walks on the beach.

Past members:

Rory Hutchenson (2020 – Hons project student)