Valérian Zeender

Valérian Zeender

Academic background

2017-2022 PhD student, University of Zurich
2016-2017 Lab technician, University of Zurich
2014-2016 MSc student, University of Zurich
2009-2012 BSc student, University of Lausanne

About me

Research interests: sexual selection theory, reproductive physiology, gamete evolution, reproductive and life-history trade-offs

My current research focuses on the effect of nutritional stress during development, how it affects energy investment in traits under pre- and postcopulatory sexual selection and how this translates into gene expression and protein synthesis. We conduct all our experiments with numerous genetically modified isogenic lines of Drosophila melanogaster, which are a uniquely powerful study system as they express either red- or green-glowing sperm. This enables us to develop original experimental design as well as control for genetic background.

Besides research in the lab, I am convinced that the importance of public outreach is greatly underestimated. This is why I regularly give lectures about biology to high-school and secondary-school students at the Life Science Zurich - Learning Center.

In my spare time, I also enjoy cycling, ski-touring and almost any kind of game or social activity.


Macartney EL*, Zeender V*, Meena A, De Nardo AN, Bonduriansky RJ & Lüpold S. 2021. Sperm depletion in relation to developmental nutrition and genotype in Drosophila melanogaster. Evolution 75: 2830-2841. doi: 10.1111/evo.14373
(*shared first-authorship)

Lüpold S, Reil JB, Manier MK, Zeender V, Belote JM & Pitnick S. 2020. How female × male and male × male interactions influence competitive fertilization in Drosophila melanogaster. Evolution Letters 4: 416-429. doi: 10.1002/evl3.193

Zeender V, Roy J, Wegmann A, Schäfer MA, Gourgoulianni N, Blanckenhorn WU & Rohner PT. 2019. Comparative reproductive dormancy differentiation in European black scavenger flies (Diptera: Sepsidae). Oecologia 189: 905-917. doi: 10.1007/s00442-019-04378-0

Zrelec V, Zini M, Guarino J, Valtat A, Zeender V & Kawecki TJ. 2013. Drosophila rely on learning while foraging under semi-natural conditions. Ecology and Evolution 3: 4139-4148. doi: 10.1002/ece3.783