I started my DPhil in the Aboobaker Lab in 2018.

Research

Growing human population and economic development have resulted in increased
demand for marine crustaceans as a food source. Crustacean aquaculture is a rapidly growing
industry, and the most difficult challenge it faces is the increased threat of pathogen
outbreaks that have significant social and economic impacts. The goal of my study is to
develop a model system to study crustacean immunity more easily in a laboratory setting,
this will provide a better understanding of crustacean immunity and build a pathway to
impact how we can mitigate the impact of pathogen outbreaks in crustacean food crop
species. I am using Parhyale hawaiensis and pathogenic Vibrio spp. bacteria to develop a
model infection system. I have successfully established a basic infection paradigm between
pathogen and host. I’m currently working on identifying the systemic molecular pathways
that are activated upon infection and understanding pathway and time-course of infection
within the animal. In the future I am planning to identify the specific response to infection
within the hemocyte population and to use transgenic approaches to study the roles of
immune regulatory and effector proteins. Together, these studies will establish a tractable
laboratory system to study crustacean immunity and give us new insights in both mechanisms
and biomarkers that should be relevant to improve the aquaculture of food crop species.

Past education

MSc in Biological Sciences at Simon Fraser University

BSc in Biological Sciences at Simon Fraser University

Email

leon.li@zoo.ox.ac.uk