I started my PhD, supervised by Astrid T. Groot, in August 2016. My research focuses on chemical sexual communication in moths to better understand mating preferences and resulting sexual selection.
In a laboratory setting, I investigate mate choice in the tobacco budworm Heliothis virescens (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). This generalist insect species is a major pest in North America, feeding on crop plants like tobacco, soy bean, and cotton. While the female sex pheromone attracts males over a long range, the male emits pheromone in proximity to the female. My aim is to determine the effect of male traits involved in close-range courtship on mate choice and reproductive success.
Besides my doctoral research study, I am enthusiastic about contributing to a vibrant community of PhD candiates to create a supportive work environment. For this purpose, I joined the IBED PhD/Postdoc council in 2016 with role to facilitate an active dialogue between the PhDs/Postdocs at IBED and the PE&RC graduate school. Further, I became chair of the PhD council of the PE&RC graduate school (PPC) in January 2019.