Alina Mikhailova

PhD Student

© Alina Mikhailova

Molecular Evolution and Bioinformatics
Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity
University of Münster
Hüfferstr. 1
48149 Münster, Germany
Phone: +49 251/83-
Nationality: Russian Ru


  • Since 2020:
    PhD studies in the Molecular Evolution and Bioinformatics Group, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster, Germany
  • 2015-2020:
    Diploma (MSc equivalent) in Bioengineering and Bioinformatics, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad, Russia
    Thesis: Tandem repeats and recombination in mitochondrial genomes of chordates

Work Experience

  • since 2019
    Analyst, Center for Mitochondrial Functional Genomics, Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad, Russia
  • 2019-2020:
    Intern, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan
  • 2018-2019:
    Lab technician, Laboratory of molecular-genetic technologies, Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad, Russia
  • 2017:
    Intern, Center for Integrative Genomics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland


  • Prof. Dr. Erich Bornberg-Bauer, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
  • Prof. Dr. Dino McMahon, Institute of Biology-Zoology, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • Dr. Barbara Feldmeyer, Molecular Ecology, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center, Frankfurt, Germany

Research interests

  • Comparative genomics
  • Evolution of sociality
  • Evolution of mutational spectrum
  • Mitochondrial genome structure and recombination


  • Mikhailova AG, Shamansky V, Mikhailova AA, et al. A mitochondrial mutational signature of temperature and longevity in ectothermic and endothermic vertebrates. bioRxiv [Preprint] doi: 10.1101/2020.07.25.221184
  • Mikhailova AA, Shamanskiy V, Ushakova K, et al. Risk of mitochondrial deletions is affected by the global secondary structure of the mitochondrial genome. bioRxiv [Preprint] doi: 10.1101/603282v3
  • Mikhaylova AG, Mikhailova AA, Ushakova K, et al. Mitochondrial mutational spectrum provides an universal marker of cellular and organismal longevity. bioRxiv [Preprint] doi: 10.1101/589168v1

PhD project description

Genomic basis of social evolution: from cockroaches to eusocial termites

Termites are eusocial insects from the order Blattodea. The sociality within this order evolved from subsocial cockroaches through less eusocial lower termites to higher termites which are highly eusocial and remarkable for their social complexity. We are interested in the genomic basis of the emergence and evolution of eusociality in termites. Interestingly, the high eusociality might have arisen at least twice in termites. But the molecular changes during these transitions are still poorly known because of a lack of genomic data.

We plan to produce high-quality genomes and caste-specific transcriptomes of 10 termites and 1 cockroach. Using these novel and existing data sets, comparative genomic and differential expression analyses of species with different levels of sociality (subsocial wood roach, lower termites, higher termites) will be carried out to investigate the genomic basis of termite evolution. Along with transitions in sociality level, we will also focus on specific phenotypes like the emergence of true worker castes and the genus-specific loss of soldiers.