Quentin Willot


My core interest revolves around ecophysiology. I graduated as a pathologist in 2011 (Paul Lambin Institute, Belgium), completed my MSc (Cellular and molecular biology) at the Catholic University of Leuven (UClouvain) and my PhD (evolutionary Biology) at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. During those years of training I focused the cellular stress resistance pathways, such as ROS-induced apoptosis in the context of neural development (MSc), as well as biophysical and molecular pathways underlying the extreme heat-stress resistance in desert ants from the Sahara and the Namib (PhD).

Current project

My current project aims to decipher how developmental acclimation during embryogensis constrains thermal limits in insects. We thus investigate how temperatures of exposure during development can shapes critical stress survival pathways such as autophagy, apoptosis, heat-shock protein expression and ion homeostasis; both in the fly (Drosophila Melanogaster), ants (Ocymyrmex sp.), as well as in the invasive cabbage butterfly (Pieris brassicae). This could lead us to test how invasive species might be constrained by these mechanisms, to better understand thermal niche shifts during invasion, and ultimately to infer the impact of climate change on species physiology, fitness and distribution.