DR. ANIEK IVENS
Dr. Aniek Ivens is an evolutionary ecologist currently working at VU University Amsterdam in The Netherlands. The overarching theme of her work is ‘cooperation’, be it between ants in a colony or between different organisms, such as between us and the bacteria in our gut.
In her research, Aniek studies how such examples of cooperation evolved to be what they are today and how they have shaped life on Earth as we know it, including ourselves. In her work she combines computer simulations with field studies of ants, the aphids they farm in their nest as well as these insects’ gut microbiome. Previously, she worked at The Rockefeller University in New York City, as well as the Universities of Wageningen, Groningen (The Netherlands) and Copenhagen (Denmark), where she not only studied these cattle-tending ants but also crop-growing ants.
When not in the field or lab, she also puts cooperation into practice when performing improv. You may catch her performing in a show or in her solo-improv show ‘Dr. Aniek Discovers’. Or book an individual coaching session or workshop 'Improv(e) your science communication' through her company Academic Improv, in which she unites best of her two worlds.