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Post-doctoral researcher

phone: +32 (0)2 650 45 25

e-mail: Quentin.Willot@ulb.ac.be

Research interests

PhD research project

Adaptation to extreme heat conditions in Cataglyphis desert ants

Supervisor: Serge Aron

Co-supervisor: Cyril Gueydan

Ants can be found in nearly all terrestrial habitats, including some of the most inhospitable places of the world. As such, they are excellent model systems to study how organisms adapt to their environment. Among ants, hot desert Cataglyphis species are facing the most severe heat conditions. My research project aims to study the biophysics and physiological basis underlying the heat tolerance of Cataglyphis ants.     

First, we investigate the thermal dynamic of Cataglyphis species to better understand how they regulate the high amount of energy intake incoming from their natural habitat. Special protection from solar radiations might indeed stem from special features of the ants’ morphology. Second, we investigate the physiological adaptations of desert ants to cope with high thermal stress. We compare relevant heat-resistance metabolic processes in desert species to decipher how their evolutive history impacted on the finely tuned physiology needed to survive in such hostile conditions.

Master thesis

Peroxiredoxin-5 implication in the chick spinal cord development

Supervisors: Bernard Knoops & Marc Pirson (2013-2014, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium)

Gentamicin effect on proteasome activity in renal cells LLC-PK1

Supervisors: Marie-Paule Mingeot-Leclercq & Sophie Denamur (2010, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium)


Willot Q, Gueydan C, Aron S (In press) Proteome stability, heat hardening, and heat-shock protein expression profiles in Cataglyphis desert ants. Journal of Experimental Biology.

Willot Q, Simonis P, Vigneron J-P, Aron S (2016) Total internal reflection accounts for the bright color of the Saharan silver ant. PLoS One 11: e0152325.


  1. PhD in Evolutionary Biology (2014- today, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium)

  2. Master of Science in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology (2011-2014, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium)

  3. Bachelor's degree in Clinical Laboratory Science - Medical laboratory scientist (2007–2011, Institut Paul Lambin, Belgium)

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  1. Quentin Willot


Cuticle of Cataglyphis mauritanica (optical microscope)