OUR PEOPLE

Professor Ian Johnston – CEO & CO-FOUNDER

Ian is recognized internationally as a leading authority on fish muscle and is the most cited person in Aquaculture on Google Scholar. Honours include the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London (1984) and election to the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1987). He was Director of the Gatty Marine Laboratory (1985-2008), member of the Natural Environmental Research Council (1995-2000) and President of the Society for Experimental Biology (2007-9). He is a Professor at the School of Biology, University of St Andrews.

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Dr Tom Ashton – OPERATIONS DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER

Tom is co-inventor of the Xelect genetic markers and of the tensile method of texture analysis. He has broad experience in marine biology, aquaculture and molecular biology. Tom obtained a PhD from University of St Andrews in 2011, with a thesis entitled “The genetic basis of flesh quality traits in farmed Atlantic salmon”.

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Dr Daniel Macqueen – CONSULTANT IN FISH GENOMICS

Dan is a Lecturer in Biosciences at the University of Aberdeen and a leading researcher on fish genomics, with particular expertise on the evolution and functional consequences of whole genome duplication in salmonids. Dan obtained his PhD degree and carried out two postdoctoral fellowships with Ian Johnston at St Andrews.

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Dr Chris Hollenbeck – GENOMICS CONSULTANT

Chris is a Research Fellow at the Scottish Oceans Institute at the University of St. Andrews with experience in population genetics and bioinformatics. His research interests involve applying genomics to problems in aquaculture and fisheries. He obtained a B.S. in Biology and a Ph.D. in Genetics from Texas A&M University. 

Dr Rachael Wilbourn – LAB MANAGER

Rachael was awarded a PhD in Evolution and Behaviour from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.  She specialises in population genetics and is highly skilled in a range of molecular techniques and data analysis.  She obtained a BSc in Zoology and MRes in Crops for the Future from the University of Dundee

Dr Marie Smedley – BREEDING PROGRAMME MANAGER

Marie has a PhD from the Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling and is an expert in the biology of triploidy in Atlantic salmon. Marie has commercial experience working with Marine Harvest and Biomar and a broad range of laboratory and analytical skills. At Xelect Marie is responsible for close liaison with our breeding management customers around the world.

Dr Francesca Tedeschi – Senior Scientific Officer

Francesca has completed her under- and post-graduate studies in Italy. She holds a BSc degree in Biology, MSc in Cellular and Molecular Biology and PhD in Biotechnology. After spending 5 years in Germany as a postdoctoral researcher, studying gene regulatory processes in plants, she joined Xelect to offer her services as a senior scientific officer. Her scientific and laboratory skills range from molecular biology to biochemistry and genetics.

Dr Claire Roulston – SCIENTIFIC OFFICER

Claire is a graduate from St Andrews University with a in PhD in molecular biology and genetics. She has strong skills in qPCR, genotyping and data analysis, as well as academic strength in the field of cellular pathways and gene regulation. Claire plays a central role in delivering high quality laboratory service work to Xelect’s customers and our ongoing R&D programme.

Shahmir Naseer– SCIENTIFIC OFFICER

Shamir completed his BSc honours in Biomedical Science from University of Lincoln in 2016 and finished Masters degree in Human Molecular Genetics at Imperial College London in 2017, with a thesis entitled “MicroRNA in TBI animal model: potential associations with genes involved in Alzheimer’s disease/dementia” and, importantly, he loves eating fish!

Dr Clara Coll-Lladó – SCIENTIFIC OFFICER

Clara has a PhD in molecular biology and genetics from the University of St Andrews, and is an expert in many genetic laboratory techniques including gene expression by qPCR, SNP genotyping, and flow cytometry