Karimizadeh, Amirhossein












Amirhossein Karimizadeh
PhD Student

Curriculum Vitae

February 2024

PhD Student. Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.

Title: Consequence of a convergent loss of olfactory receptors in slave-making ants
Supervisors: Dr. Susanne Foitzik

2021 - 2023

Master as a MEME (Master of Erasmus Mundus in Evolutionary Biology) student

Double Degree from: Uppsala University and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

First Master thesis, Max Planck Institute for Biological intelligence:

“Evolution of Sucrase Activity in Vertebrates”
Supervisor: Dr. Maude Baldwin

Second Master thesis, LMU:

“The Genetics of Hybrid Sterility in Heliconius Butterflies”
Supervisor: Dr. Richard Merrill

Internship in Institut Des Sciences De L'evolution De Montpellier

Project title: “Expansion of MMP Proteins in Chondrichthyans”

Supervisor: Dr. Camille Martinand-Marie

2016 - 2020

Bachelor of science in Cell and Molecular Biology with a minor in Psychology. University of Tehran, Iran.

Title thesis: “A Comparative RNA Profiling Analysis of the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex of People with Bipolar Disorder and Major Depression”

Supervisor: Dr Kolsoum InanlooRahatloo

Research Interests

I am passionate about understanding the intricate mechanisms underlying the evolution of genes and their profound implications for shaping the trajectory of species. My research interests lie at the intersection of evolutionary biology, neurobiology, and bioinformatics. I aim to work towards unraveling the intricate relationship between gene evolution, behavior, and brain function.

PhD Project

My PhD project focuses on the impacts of genomic changes during the evolution of ant slavery, specifically, the effect of the convergent loss of olfactory receptors in slave-making ants.

Ant slavery refers to a type of social parasitism where slave-maker ants raid and steal the brood of host ants, which, upon emergence, behave typically of their native colonies. This behavior allows the slave-makers to exploit their labor force. Slave-making has independently evolved 10 times, with 6 occurrences in the Temnothorax genus.

Slave-making ants have experienced a convergent loss of olfactory receptors, likely due to reduced communication needs during foraging and brood care tasks as they began relying on their hosts' workforce for these tasks.

In my research, I utilize neurobiological experiments, gene expression, and bioinformatics analyses to determine if hosts have a wider range of olfactory perception compared to slave-making ants due to the convergent loss of olfactory receptors. This will involve odor perception screens using antennal electrophysiology techniques and antennal transcriptomics to identify any changes in odorant receptor gene expression. We'll also study brain anatomy to understand the potential correlation between the loss of odorant receptor genes and a reduction in glomeruli within the antennal lobes. Lastly, we'll identify and functionally characterize slave-maker specific candidate genes through RNAi experiments. Our comprehensive research aims to illuminate the mechanisms driving the evolution of ant slavery.


Institute of Organismic and Molecular Evolution
Amirhossein Karimizadeh
Hanns-Dieter-Hüsch-Weg 15
55128 Mainz

Tel.: +49 6131 39 27847
Fax: +49 6131 39 27850