How organisms interact with and adapt to their surrounding environments has always fascinated me and continues to do so. After receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in Ecology & Biodiversity (University of Salzburg), and my Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics (JKU Linz), I joined the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics (University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna) to study how organisms adapt to thermal challenges. Under the supervision of Prof. Christian Schlötterer, I investigated the genomic response of Drosophila populations to new thermal environments using a plethora of bioinformatic analysis and simulation approaches, but also performed phenotypic measurements to confirm my findings on the genotypic level. During my graduate studies, I joined the laboratory of Prof. Philipp Messer (Cornell University) and Prof. Andrew Clark (Cornell University) for a a six months stay abroad, where I worked in collaboration with Dr. Jackson Champer (Peking University) on the fitness assessment of CRISPR/Cas systems in experimental Drosophila populations and the potential consequences of fitness costs for gene drive applications. This collaboration sparked in me the wish to investigate whether and how spatial structure and environmental heterogeneity can shape population dynamics.
Becoming an MSCA postdoctoral fellow allows me now to work in the exciting interdisciplinary field of applied modeling and machine learning in population genetics. Under the supervision of Prof. Philipp Messer (Cornell University), Prof. Courtney Murdock (Cornell University), and Prof. Joachim Hermisson (University of Vienna), I study how spatial structure influences mosquito-transmitted disease dynamics.