sophie koch
Ph.D. candidate


I completed my Bachelor of Science, majoring in Animal Biology, at the University of Alberta where I had the opportunity to learn about biology from molecular, evolutionary and ecological perspectives. After taking a field course at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Center, I grew to appreciate the natural biological diversity around us and became interested in research. During my final year of undergrad, I studied in Dr. Andrew Waskiewicz’s zebrafish development lab where I worked on the role of Hox proteins and their cofactors in patterning the developing hindbrain. I then stayed on in this lab as a summer student assisting on a larger project examining the role of sonic hedgehog in early ocular morphogenesis as a model for the human disease superior coloboma, which is now in preparation for publication. That fall, I began working as a lab and animal care technician where I cared and maintained the zebrafish facility and worked to create new CRISPR/Cas9 mutant lines for the Waskiewicz Lab.

I started my Master’s in the Abouheif Lab in the fall of 2016 and am very excited to integrate ecology and evolution into developmental research using ants as a socially complex model. Specifically, my project examines the mechanisms underlying soldier development and evolution in the hyperdiverse genus Pheidole. Specifically, I aim to characterize the developmental signaling mechanisms that produce soldiers to generate their distinct morphology that has promoted their ecological dominance and evolutionary success.

Last update: Jul. 31, 2017