Currently, I am a postdoc in Prof. Sarah Knowles‘ lab, at the University of Oxford. My big research focus at the moment is in how microbes affect animal behaviour. I am particularly interested in how variation in microbiome composition between individuals of wild house mouse populations affects behaviour.
Stay tuned for results! 🙂
I moved to Zurich to pursue my Ph.D., in the labs of Profs. Rolf Kümmerli and Andreas Wagner. There, I studied the evolution and ecology of cooperation and conflict in microbes. The siderophore pyoverdine produced by Pseudomonas sp. bacteria can be simultaneously a beneficial “public good”, by making iron available to cells with a matching receptor; or a harmful “public bad” by locking iron away from cells that don’t have such a receptor.
I used this cool model social trait to study (1) how different environments select for the evolution of cooperation, and (2) how inter-strain (non)-shareability of siderophores affects biological invasions in microbial communities.
During this time, I grew very interested in the evolution of symbiosis and how it is affected by social interactions among microbes
During my M.Sc. with the MiteSquad, I studied some aspects of the two-spotted spider mite mating behaviour. This interesting and fluffy pest displays first male precedence (i.e. the first male to mate with a female will sire all of her offspring). Hence, males need to quickly and efficiently tell apart virgin from previously mated females. The main goal of my project was to unravel the mechanism behind this distinction and shed some light on this species chemical ecology. I also studied the role of previous experience and maternal effects on male spider mites mating behaviour.