Personal profile

Biosketch

My ultimate fascination is how the genome shapes and affects the ability of organisms to adapt to a changing world. I have been investigating the causes and consequences of genomic variation within and among species for at least 20 years, using a combination of experimentation, genomic approaches, and bioinformatics. My scientific expertise further includes evolutionary biology, ecological interactions, ecological and evolutionary genomics, genetics & heredity, and entomology.

Research interests

In my research, I use state-of-the-art technologies and analyses, and employ these to fundamental questions in evolutionary ecology, and in applied research. Rather than trying to minimize the genetic variation in our genomics experiments to facilitate the analyses, my strategy is actually to exploit, quantify and characterize genomic variation to gain fundamental knowledge on ecological traits and evolutionary processes.

In my research, I focus on Drosophila, as this genetically tractable model system with well-studied ecological drivers is ideal for addressing the molecular mechanisms of evolutionary adaptation. In this system, I map the complex gene networks that coordinate ecologically relevant traits and reveal how genomes change during evolution. My research aims are  to unravel the molecular principles of evolutionary innovation, and to study functional diversification and interference of gene regulatory networks. For applied research, I will continue to work together with my commercial partners for co-creation of knowledge for biological control, insect mass-rearing and in developing insects as mini-livestock for feed.

Teaching

I am programme director for the MSc Ecology and Evolution since 2017.

Education/Academic qualification

Entomology, PhD (cum laude), Ecology of Drosophila aggregation pheromone: A multitrophic approach, Wageningen University & Research

Award Date: 1-Oct-2001

Biology (Ecology and Evolution), MSc (cum laude), Leiden University

Award Date: 31-Aug-1996

External positions

Board member NLSEB, Dutch Society for Evolutionary Biology (NLSEB)

2021 → …

Steering group member Origins Center, Origins Center

2020 → …

Chair of the section Entomology Day of the Netherlands Entomological Society, Nederlandse Entomologische Vereniging

20152022

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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