News


May 2024


Maude and Mathilde attended a workshop on Arthropod–Fungal Associations: from Parasites to Pathogens organized by our colleague Ibtissem Ben Fekih.


The team participated in a course on the Ecology and Evolution of Phenotypic Plasticity in Ede, the Netherlands, organized by the Production Ecology and Resource Conservation graduate school. A great opportunity to learn and interact with others interested in the study of phenotypic plasticity.


April 2024


Welcome to the lab Suzanne! Suzanne will be working on plasticity of fatty acid synthesis in field-caught amber wasp populations during her MSc internship.


Welcome to the lab Claire! Claire will be working on the effects of seasonal fluctuating temperatures on fat metabolism during her MSc internship.

Congrats to the entire team for obtaining travel grants from ULiège to attend the International Congress of Entomology in Japan later this year!


March 2024


Eline Bergmans of newspaper De Morgen wrote about my experiences at UCLouvain and how the rectorate dealt with my reports on harassment, discrimination, and abuse of power. You can find the full article here. You can read the English translation here, and the French translation here (with permission of E. Bergmans).


New hood looking good! Let the lipid extractions begin.


February 2024


We just obtained a 15.000 euro grant from ULiège to modernize and fix several climate rooms in the department.


Our paper on bet-hedging in parasitoids, written with Cécile Le Lann and Joan van Baaren was accepted for publication in Current Research in Insect Science!


January 2024


Our book chapter on lipid metabolism in parasitoids and parasitized hosts was accepted for publication in Insect Lipid Metabolism, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology published by Springer. Congratulations to Mathilde and Léonore for finalizing this exhaustive and exciting piece of work!


Bertanne went back to the VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands (her PhD alma mater), but this time as an opponent during the defense of PhD candidate Francesco Boatta. Dr. Boatta did an excellent job including evolutionary principles in his studies on house flies as food or feed. It was a great priviledge to be part of his defense!


October/November 2023


Liesbet De Kock from Apache published an article detailing how UCLouvain dealt with the reporting of harassment and discrimination by my colleague Prof. Caroline Nieberding. An annex left out of the public report written by a committee led by
Françoise Tulkens, former vice-president of the European Court of Human Rights, describes the lack of support for targets that report harassment. A second annex describes (one of the) retaliation(s) against Caroline by the higher echelons of the university. You can find the full article here (in Dutch). The article is also available on this blog (in French).


September 2023


Congrats to Thomas for acceptance of his paper on “The importance of fat accumulation and reserves for insect overwintering​” in Current Opinion in Insect Science! 
(Figure copyright: Thomas Enriquez)


Bertanne signed the open letter to the Routledge – Taylor & Francis Group, written in response to retraction of a book chapter on sexual misconduct, after a professor felt he was referred to in the chapter. The authors of the chapter were informed that the publisher was reverting the rights for the chapter (without informing the editors or providing info on the fate of the rest of book). This is an infringement of the authors’ academic freedom and is unacceptable behavior for a private publisher.


“Top researcher resigns from TU Delft (the Netherlands) due to ‘macho culture’, and she is not the first” Read about it on the NOS website (in Dutch).


July 2023


Watch the documentary by RTL Indices on sexual and gender-based violence at UCLouvain here. As stated by SudInfo: ‘If this infernal spiral has remained lurking in the academic fortress, it may well be that the #MeToo wave is finally crumbling this colossus.’


June 2023


Check out the pre-print of our book chapter on Lipid metabolism in parasitoids and their hosts written by Mathilde, Léonore and Bertanne. The chapter will be published in Insect Lipid Metabolism. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. Musselman LP, Toprak U (Eds) by Springer New York. (Figure copyright: Bertanne Visser)


April 2023


Mathilde and I recommended the paper of Houwenhuyse, Bulteel et al on the role of the microbiome for responding to multiple biotic stressors in Daphnia for the Peer Community in Zoology. You can read the full paper and our recommendation here.


Court appeal day: UCLouvain appealed the decision of the court condemning them for violence against my esteemed colleague and friend Prof. Caroline Nieberding. Although this time UCLouvain changed strategy (which I would simply call ‘character assassination’), according to our lawyer Me. Violaine Alonso and rephrased by the RTBF, “the university has clearly committed a series of abusive behaviors, constituting harassment…”.


March 2023


There has been some debate about research on lipid metabolism in parasitoids. We aim to resolve this with our latest paper in Current Research in Insect Science, including exciting suggestions for future research! Want to know more? The paper is already available on EcoEcoRxiv.

Here, you can see how extraordinary the parasitoid fat accumulation phenotype (represented here by Eupelmus vuilletti and Nasonia vitripennis) really is compared to a non-parasitoid insect (Drosophila melanogaster)(copyright: Bertanne Visser):


And there she is, the Centri (or ‘add-on’), ready to rock! Curious to see what these amazing machines can do!


Prof. Caroline Nieberding explains the results of our recent paper published in Functional Ecology in Les Éclaireurs (in French).


Have a look at Thomas‘s new paper on the importance of lipids for insect cold tolerance and overwintering.

The different roles of lipids at the cellular and organismal level for cold tolerance and overwintering in insects. Copyright Thomas Enriquez.

Listen to Prof. Caroline Nieberding in the podcast Soluble(s)(in French) talking about the impact of human-induced rapid environmental changes on insect biodiversity. She also discussed our recent paper on the effects of climate warming on butterflies! Available on the website of Soluble(s), Spotify, Deezer, and Apple podcasts.


January 2023


Delightful to see our work highlighted in the press! You can find the article of Le Soir here. Other news outlets have also picked up the story: L’Avenir, msn, Proximus, RTBF, Le Vif and Daily Science. An English coverage can be found in The Brussels Times.


Our paper on maladaptive learning of sexual preferences under climate warming has now been published in Functional Ecology! Congrats to the Nieberding lab for this amazing paper!


Congratulations to Drs Ismail and Albittar for getting their new paper on the pest aphid Aphis fabae accepted for publication!


December 2022


There she is! Our new mass spectrometer with chemical ionization has arrived. Further “add-ons” will arrive soon, such as GCxGC and Centri with HiSorb and SPME. Let the fun begin!


November 2022


Our paper on the effect of climate warming on mate preferences and learning in tropical butterflies has been accepted by Functional Ecology!


October 2022


The verdict is in:
UCLouvain convicted of workplace violence against biology professor.”

More info can be found here.


September 2022


I am immensely proud and grateful to my amazing, smart, and inspirational colleague Professor Caroline Nieberding for speaking up about the harassment and discrimination that we have faced for years at UCLouvain. Her case was heard September 16th by the labor court. Have a look at my #metoo university page for important press releases and more…


Our comprehensive review paper on our pet species, the amber wasp Leptopilina heterotoma, has been accepted pending minor revisions in Ecology and Evolution. Great job of the entire Visser lab!


July 2022


Thomas’s paper on pupal size as a proxy for fat content in Drosophila was just published in Scientific ReportsThe paper is available here. Congratulations!


Le Lann & Visser, together again @ the International Congress of Entomology in Helsinki, Finland.


Our lab obtained support from the Fondation Universitaire de Belgique for 750 euro to partly finance the open access publication of one of our papers!


June 2022


Welcome to Maxime Sigwald who joined the team as a job-student this summer!


Maude obtained a competitive ASPIRANT PhD grant from the FNRS. Amazing! Congratulations!


Thomas‘s paper on pupal size as a proxy for lipid content in Drosophila was accepted by Scientific Reports. Congratulations!


April 2022


Our lab joined the international research project ‘Gradients’ of Prof. Joan van Baaren (Rennes Univ France) to work on bet-hedging strategies in insects.


Congratulations to Léonore who found a new position at the University of Mainz! We wish you all the best!


February 2022


Our lab just obtained funding from ULiège to buy a new and amazing mass spectrometry machine!


December 2021


Our lab has moved to ULiège!!! We have joined the Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech campus.


A paper on the effects of learning and inbreeding on fitness and host plant colonization in spider mites has been accepted by Entomologia Generalis!


September 2021


Our paper on social learning and inheritance in non-social arthropods was published in Genes!


Dr. Mathilde Scheifler joined the team as a postdoc associate to work on the molecular basis of plastic fat synthesis. Welcome!


August 2021


Our new review paper on social learning and inheritance in non-social arthropods is now available on EcoEvoRxiv.


Bachelor student Sarah Vreurick joined our group as a summer intern. Welcome!


July 2021


Bachelor student Victoria Lievens joined our group as a summer intern. Welcome!


June 2021


The first traps are out to catch some wild Drosophila!


Bertanne gave an invited seminar at the Louvain Institute for Biomolecular Science and Technology on… fat synthesis in wasps


April 2021


Our paper on plasticity of fat synthesis in Leptopilina heterotoma was published in Scientific Reports!


February 2021


The special issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology ‘Predicting the Future: Species Survival in a Changing World‘ has been published! See our lab’s contribution to this special issue where we talk about the responses of parasitoids and their hosts in the face of predictable and unpredictable changes in temperature.


A recommendation for the paper by Weyna & Romiguier was published by the Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology (PDF)


MSc students Axelle Verdierre and Duncan Wilmart joined our lab. Welcome!


January 2021


Congratulations to Loïc Smets and Céline Deltenre from the Nieberding team for successfully defending their MSc thesis!


Maude Quicray joined our lab as a PhD student working on plasticity of fat synthesis. Welcome to the lab!


December 2020


A review on host and parasitoid responses to predictable and unpredictable temperature, written together with Joan van Baaren and Cécile Le Lann, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Experimental Biology!


Our lab just obtained a Credit de Recherche and Equipement grant from the Fonds National de Recherche Scientifique!


There are currently 2 postdoc positions available in the lab of Prof Caroline Nieberding on the adaptive value of learning in butterflies. More information can be found here.


October 2020


Dr. Thomas Enriquez started his Fondation Fyssen fellowship. Welcome to the lab!


PhD student Léonore Wilhelm joined our lab. Welcome!


September 2020


Dr. Shulin He started his postdoctoral project. Welcome to the lab!


August 2020


MSc student Dilhan Ozturk successfully defended his thesis. Congrats!


July 2020


Léonore Wilhelm will join the lab as PhD student working on the link between the microbiome and fat synthesis in Leptopilina. Congrats Léonore!


The Peer Community in Zoology was founded! Submit your papers and/or become a recommender for this amazing publishing initiative. Go to https://zool.peercommunityin.org/ for more info on how to join and publish!


June 2020


Dr Thomas Enriquez obtained a grant from the Fyssen Foundation to work in our lab on the effects of maternal behavior and the environment on plasticity of fat synthesis. Congrats!


May 2020


Our lab obtained a UCLouvain Fonds Spéciaux de Recherche grant to hire a new PhD student in collaboration with the lab of Prof Ellen Decaestecker (KU Leuven) to work on the effects of the microbiome on fat synthesis in parasitic wasps


February 2020


Dr Shulin He will be hired as a postdoctoral associate to work on the molecular basis of plastic fat synthesis in parasitic wasps


MSc students Céline Deltenre and
Loïc Smets
joined the lab of my colleague Caroline Nieberding to work on learning in sexual preferences in Bicyclus anynana


January 2020


MSc student Jordan Wasnaire successfully defended his thesis. Congrats!


December 2019



Together with Prof Caroline Nieberding, our lab obtained a F.R.S.-FNRS Projet de Recherche grant to hire a new postdoc associate


October 2019



MSc-student Dilhan Ozturk joined the lab