Upon my graduation in 2016 as Bioscience Engineer in Agricultural Sciences, I started working for Bayer CropScience (later BASF Agricultural Solutions). More specifically at the Phytopathology Lab and mainly working on disease resistance against fungal pathogens of winter oilseed rape. During those years at Bayer/BASF I gained a growing eagerness to focus more on data analysis (in a molecular biology background) and bioinformatics.
That’s why, in 2020, I returned to the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering and joined the BIOBIX research group as a PhD student to work on a joint project of Prof. Tim De Meyer (BIOBIX) and Prof. Thomas Van Leeuwen (Laboratory of Agrozoology, Department of Plants and Crops).

In my PhD research project I will focus on the development and validation of a novel methodology to identify eQTLs (expression quantitative trait loci: heritable variation in gene expression), through statistical modelling of RNA-seq data, in the spider mite Tetranychus urticae genome. The aim is to validate the novel eQTL scanning methodology by showing that it is able to identify eQTLs explaining fast spider mite adaptation to new hosts.

Femke De Graeve

Doctoral Student