Evolution is an often surprisingly fast process that results in new adaptations, but also is the mechanism for the origin of novel species. Genetic variation and the resulting changes in an organism’s characteristics are the raw material for selection to act on, which might allow for the evolution of adaptations in response to changing environments. My study organisms are cichlid fish, a famous textbook example of exuberant diversity and record-breaking rates at which new species arise, chosen as a means for understanding the molecular mechanisms that drive phenotypic diversity.
In particular, I study how changes in the regulation of gene expression are used to drive the evolution of phenotypically diverse traits, such as body coloration and pigmentation. There is accumulating evidence that especially the regulation of how, when and where genes are expressed plays a pivotal part in the process of diversification. Instead of redesigning its components, evolution “tinkers” with the existing bits. By conducting a more comprehensive study across cichlid species, I aim to better understand how “evolutionary tinkering” within gene regulation contributes to the molecular underpinnings of the diversification.
- Since 2013: Postdoctoral fellow, Faculty of Biology & Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz, Germany (Host: Prof. Dr. Axel Meyer)
- 2008 – 2013: PhD in Neurobiology, Friedrich Miescher Institute, Basel, Switzerland (Advisor: Prof. Dr. Filippo Rijli)
- 2007 – 2008: Diploma thesis In Biology, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany (Advisor: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Driever)
- 2004 – 2008: Diploma studies in Biology, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany
- 2016 – 2019 German Research Foundation (DFG) Research Grant
2016 – 2019 Elite Programme for Postdocs, Baden-Württemberg Stiftung
Awards and Fellowships
- 2013 – 2015 Marie Curie Zukunftskolleg Incoming Fellowship (ZIF-MC)
- 2013 – 2015 Early Postdoc.Mobility Fellowship, Swiss National Science Foundation, SNSF
- 2008 – 2013 PhD Scholarship, Novartis Research Foundation
A complete list can be found at Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.de/citations?user=LzPw54QAAAAJ&hl=de