Dr. Katja M. Hoedjes, Assistant Professor


Why do we observe variation among individuals in traits that we would – naively – consider beneficial for the success of an organism, such as a long lifespan, a high fecundity, or a good learning ability? That is the question that has fascinated me throughout my career, and which I have studied in two model systems: (1) the balance between ageing and reproduction in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, and (2) memory formation in parasitic wasps of the genus Nasonia.

I look for answers to this question in the genetic architecture of these phenotypes and the physiology of my model species. Historically, most of what we know about the mechanisms that control such phenotypes comes from studies on a small number of powerful genetic models, using laboratory-generated mutants or transgenic manipulations. Recent advances in the fields of genetics and genomics have made it possible to now also study the naturally occurring variation that fuels the evolution of these fitness traits in a wider range of animal species.

I study the evolution of ageing, reproduction and memory formation by using a multidisciplinary approach: my research integrates principles and techniques from the fields of life history evolution, experimental evolution, population genetics, genomics, behavioural ecology, neurobiology, and functional genetics, including the application of genetic tools such as RNAi and CRISPR-Cas.

Selected Publications

Hoedjes KM, van den Heuvel J, Kapun M, Keller L, Flatt T, Zwaan BJ (2019) Distinct genomic signals of lifespan and life history evolution in response to postponed reproduction and larval diet in Drosophila. Evolution Letters 3: 598-609.

May CM, van den Heuvel J, Doroszuk A, Hoedjes KM, Flatt T, Zwaan BJ (2019) Adaptation to developmental diet influences the response to selection on age at reproduction in the fruit fly. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 32: 425-437.

Hoedjes KM, Rodrigues MA, Flatt T (2017) Amino acid modulation of lifespan and reproduction in Drosophila. Current Opinion in Insect Science 23: 118-122.

Hoedjes KM, Smid HM, Vet LEM, Werren JH (2014) Introgression study reveals two loci involved in interspecific variation in memory among parasitic wasp species of the genus Nasonia. Heredity 113: 542-550.

Hoedjes KM, Kruidhof HM, Huigens ME, Dicke M, Vet LEM, Smid HM (2011) Natural variation in learning rate and memory dynamics in parasitoid wasps: opportunities for converging ecology and neuroscience. Proceeding of the Royal Society B 278, 889-897.

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