Rebecca Shaw

Rebecca Shaw


I graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 2015 for which I gained a first-class award for my dissertation where I used bioinformatics to look at the IGF binding protein family across salmonid evolution. My thesis contributed to a larger publication in Marine Genomics, published in 2016.

I then went on to study for an MSc in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Legislation at the University of Glasgow where I studied the physiological impacts of stress in captive bred poultry using multiple welfare indicators such as corticosterone levels and the heterophil/lymphocyte ratio.

Since graduating, I gained a position within the Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen. Within this role I have managed to build on my research skills by carrying out projects across different disciplines of biology, most notably using genetic tools to study eye development and diseases such as Typhoid Fever and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Alongside enhancing my laboratory techniques, I have been able to become a mentor for undergraduate and postgraduate students within their research projects.

Rebecca Shaw

Ecology and Biodiversity

Earlham Insitute

PhD title: Conservation Genomics of the European Polecat

This project aims to use genomic approaches in order to assess the genetic status of the UK’s population of European Polecats.

European Polecats are a medium sized carnivore that were once persecuted to near extinction in the British Isles. Due to reductions in threats to the population and conservation efforts, the Polecat is now widespread across much of its former range within the UK, but has hybridised with feral domestic ferrets. We will use whole genome sequencing in order to analyse the extent to which polecats and ferrets have interbred and determine the conservation status of the European Polecat.

This will not only offer conservation implications for the UK’s native Polecat population, but also the chance to study the evolutionary history and genetic differentiation across different populations


    Lappin, F. M., Shaw, R. L. and Macqueen, D. J. (2016) ‘Targeted sequencing for high-resolution evolutionary analyses following genome duplication in salmonid fish: Proof of concept for key components of the insulin-like growth factor axis’, Marine Genomics, 30, pp. 15–26. doi:

Further Information

I am passionate about public engagement and communicating science to others. I strive to be as involved in these types of activities as often as I can. For this reason, I have undertaken several projects over the years, such as: giving talks at Edinburgh Zoo, demonstrating at British Science week 2019 as well as participating and achieving the runner up position in the online platform “I’m a Scientist Get me Out of Here” in November 2019. I am also an active Public Engagement volunteer with my local RSPB and a STEM ambassador involved in running workshops, helping at science festivals and with online science content.


Research Gate