Krista van den Heuvel

Krista van den Heuvel MSc

PhD Student


Droevendaalsesteeg 10
6708 PB Wageningen

+31 (0) 317 47 34 00

The Netherlands


Cognitive flexibility is the ability of animals to adaptively change their behaviour in response to sudden environmental changes. I study the fitness consequences of cognitive flexibility and whether (epi)genetic mechanisms underlie individual variation.


I received my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in biology at Wageningen University. My Bachelors were completed with a thesis on neighbourhood and personality effects on singing activity in the great tit. This study triggered my interest for animal behaviour and during my Masters, I chose to conduct my thesis at the Entomology lab, to study the morphology of dopaminergic neurons in relation to learning dynamics in Nasonia parasitic wasps. After that, I performed an internship at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany. Here, I studied the morphology and function of monoaminergic neurons in the antennal lobe of the fruit fly, the insect brain structure for olfactory processing. After my graduation I performed a traineeship at The Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience in Aarhus, Denmark, studying neural aspects of courtship behaviour and reward in the fruit fly. Since March 2018, I am a PhD at the NIOO-KNAW in the Animal Ecology Department and at the University of Wageningen in the Behavioral Ecology Department.



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