Bolder, Maximilian

Maximilian Bolder
PhD Student

Curriculum Vitae

July 2022 PhD. Student. Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz,
Title: Role of gene regulation in the social control of queen behavior in ants
Supervisors: Dr. Romain Libbrecht, Dr. Joseph Colgan
2018 - 2021 Master of Science in Animal Biology and Biomedical Sciences, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover
Thesis Title: “Machine learning models for recognition of season-dependent serotonin reactivity in Lasius niger.” Supervisors: Dr. Michael Stern, Prof. Dr. Klaus Jung
2013 - 2018

Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, Gottfried Willhelm Leibniz University Hannover,

Thesis Title:” Generation and analysis of a mouse cytomegalovirus M25-UL25 swap-mutant.” Supervisor: Prof. rer.nat. Martin Messerle

Research Interests

I am interested in the evolution and functioning of insect societies. I find fascinating that ants display such diversity in their strategies to establish colonies, control the production of different castes, and regulate social life. I strive to better understand this complex world of eusociality and examine some of the mechanisms that regulate ant behavior, adaptation and diversification.

PhD Project

In my PhD project, I aim to investigate the mechanisms that control the initiation of division of labor in the common black garden ant Lasius niger. During colony foundation, Lasius niger queens exhibit a wide range of behaviors that are typically expressed by workers, such as caring for the brood. Once workers emerge, and the colony is established, queens reduce their behavioral repertoire to focus solely on egg production. Because such a change also occurred in the evolution of sociality from solitary insects, a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms responsible for the behavioral specialization of queens may give us insights into the evolution of sociality in insects.
I plan to use RNAseq to identify candidate genes for the regulation of queen specialization, functionally confirm their role using RNAi, and explore the epigenetic process that may regulate such expression changes using ChIPseq and other methods. I will also extend my investigations to other species across the phylogeny of ants.


Bolder, Maximilian F., Klaus Jung, and Michael Stern. "Seasonal variations of serotonin in the visual system of an ant revealed by immunofluorescence and a machine learning approach." Royal Society open science 9.2 (2022): 210932.


Institute of Organismic and Molecular Evolution
Maximilian Bolder
Hanns-Dieter-Hüsch-Weg 15
5518 Mainz
Tel.: +49 6131 39 27853
Fax: +49 6131 39 27850