Xeniya Kofler

Xeniya Kofler

PhD student

Tel.: +41 44 634 83 28



During my Bachelor's (2015) and Master's (2017) in Arkansas, I explored various research topics from yeast metabolism to tomato immunity, and from human macular degeneration to Drosophila metabolism. In 2017, I chose a PhD topic on evolution of plant mating systems. Understanding plant evolution and the genetic mechanism of evolution will be pivotal to the development of sustainable agriculture and food production to mitigate the effects of climate change. I see my role as a scientist to be one of an explorer, a teacher, and a communicator in order to enrich society with the benefits of good science. As such, I consider integrity, support, transparency, desire for improvement, and self-reflection as some of my most valuable traits I can contribute to my field of study.

In the near future, I will be seeking to apply my skills in a post-Doctoral position. My objective for doing so is to further hone my existing skillset but more importantly, continue to broaden my horizon accelerate my personal growth through new and challenging experiences. In doing so, I hope to achieve my dream of become a valued and independent contributor, researcher, and teacher of science.

Research interests

  • Mating systems in plants
  • Evolution
  • Climate change
  • Population genetics
  • Development
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Macular degeneration

PhD Project

Mechanism of rapid mating system evolution in fast-cycling Brassica rapa

Pollinator-driven selection is a strong evolutionary force shaping the mating mechanisms of angiosperms. In our laboratory, multi-generational selection of fast-cycling Brassica rapa plants by hoverflies lead to mating system change from primarily outcrossing and self-incompatible (SI)  to highly selfing and self-compatible (SC). The mechanisms underlying this evolutionary change are not well-understood. The goal of my project is to evaluate the mechanisms that allow for spontaneous selfing to take place. I will use a genome-wide study to characterize genetic changes associated with observed rapid evolution. Additionally, I will perform an experimental evolution study to assess plants’ ability to reverse from selfing back to outcrossing.


Prof. Florian Schiestl, Dr. (Institute of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, UZH) and Prof. Ueli Grossniklaus, Dr. (Institute of Plants and Microbial Biology, UZH).

Committee: Prof. Kentaro Shimizu, Dr. (Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, UZH), Prof. Karl Schmid, Dr. (Department of Crop Biodiversity and Breeding Informatics, Uni Hohenheim), and Prof. John Pannell, Dr. (Department of Ecology and Evolution, UNIL).


2017 – Present

PhD student, Institute of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, University of Zürich, Switzerland.

Thesis: Mechanism of rapid mating system evolution in fast-cycling Brassica rapa.

2015 – 2017

MSc in Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Fayetteville, AR, USA.

Thesis: A genetic analysis of nuclear functions of the Lipin protein in Drosophila melanogaster.

2011 – 2015

BSc in Biology, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, AR, USA.

Thesis: Effects of nicotine on expression of membrane cofactor protein CD46 in human ARPE-19 cells.


Xeniya V Rudolf, Valeriy V Lyzogubov, Nalini S Bora and Puran S Bora. (2018). Understanding the Polyethylene Glycol-Induced Mouse Model of Retinal Degeneration and Choroidal Neovascularization. J Cell Mol Pharmacol, Vol 2(1): 101. https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/understanding-the-polyethylene-glycolinduced-mouse-model-of-retinal-degeneration-and-choroidal-neovascularization-108557.html


Valeriy V Lyzogubov, Puran S Bora, Xiaobo Wu, Leah E Horn, Ryan de Roque, and Xeniya V Rudolf, John P. Atkinson, Nalini S. Bora. (2016). The Complement Regulatory Protein CD46 Deficient Mouse Spontaneously Develops Dry-Type Age-Related Macular Degeneration-Like Phenotype. American Journal of Pathology, Vol 186(8): 2088–2104 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpath.2016.03.02


Janet Lanza and Xeniya V Rudolf. (2016). Reflections from the Book Review Office of Ecology. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, Vol 97(1):21-27. https://doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1211