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Research interests

My research is focused on the genetic basis behind variation in development and utilizes functional genetic studies, in combination with new sequencing technologies, to examine the molecular mechanisms of bacterial interference on sex determination. Many parasites manipulate the behaviour, physiology or even reproduction of their host. A particularly intriguing group of parasites are endosymbiotic bacteria that live inside body cells of insects. They are maternally inherited and have evolved different ways to manipulate their hosts into producing more females, including shifting the host from sexual to asexual reproduction. To understand the mechanisms of endosymbiont manipulation of host reproduction, knowledge of the sex determination mechanisms of the host is crucial. The next challenge is to uncover the regulatory processes by which endosymbionts manipulate host reproduction. This will yield insight in the ways endosymbionts can manipulate host reproduction to their own advantage and in how they can be exploited for control of insect pests and disease vectors.


Absence of complementary sex determination in two Leptopilina species (Figitidae, Hymenoptera) and a reconsideration of its incompatibility with endosymbiont-induced thelytoky

A single QTL with large effect is associated with female functional virginity in an asexual parasitoid wasp

Chemoreceptor diversity in apoid wasps and its reduction during the evolution of the pollen-collecting lifestyle of bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea)

A chimeric gene paternally instructs female sex determination in the haplodiploid wasp Nasonia

Functional insights from the GC-poor genomes of two aphid parasitoids, Aphidius ervi and Lysiphlebus fabarum

Sawfly genomes reveal evolutionary acquisitions that fostered the mega-radiation of parasitoid and eusocial Hymenoptera

Evidence for involvement of a transformer paralog in sex determination of the wasp Leptopilina clavipes

Maternal provision of non-sex-specific transformer messenger RNA in sex determination of the wasp Asobara tabida

Variation in lipid synthesis, but genetic homogeneity, among Leptopilina parasitic wasp populations

Maternal provision of transformer-2 is required for female development and embryo viability in the wasp Nasonia vitripennis

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