Yek Sze Huei, Zoe

Senior Lecturer
School of Science

Secondary: +603 5515 9721
Room 4-8-36

Dr Zoe Yek is an ecologist from Malaysia that lived and trained abroad. She brought with her a multidisciplinary approach to the study of tropical ecology, merging behavioural ecology, molecular genetics, myrmecology (the study of ants), entomology, microbiology with –omics techniques to understand the biodiversity distribution and evolution of insect symbiosis.


  • Doctor of Philosophy in Biology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 2012
  • Master in Science, University of Texas, Austin, USA, 2009
  • Graduate Diploma, James Cook University, 2006
  • Bachelor of Science, Tunku Abdul Rahman College, 2001


Evolutionary Ecology; Insect Symbiosis; Genomics Tools for Non-Model Organism; Tropical Biodiversity; Science Outreach

Research Interests

To understand how different insect symbiosis evolved and are maintained.


BIO2810 (Introduction to ecological applications)

BIO3820 (Tropical terrestrial biology)

Scholarly Journals

J.M. Lee, R.J. Wasserman, J.Y. Gan, R.F. Wilson, S. Rahman, S.H. Yek. 2019. Human activities attract harmful mosquitoes in a tropical urban landscape. EcoHealth, -, 1-12

Romiguier J, Fournier A, Yek SH, Keller L. (2017) Convergent evolution of social hybridogenesis in Messor harvester ants. Molecular Ecology 26: 1108-1117

Otani S, Bos N, Yek SH. (2016) Transitional complexity of social insect immunity. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution doi: 10.3389/fevo.2016.00069 (Perspective)

Andersen SB, Yek SH, Nash DR, Boomsma JJ. (2015) Interaction specificity between leaf-cutting ants and vertically transmitted Psuedonocardia bacteria. BMC Evolutionary Biology 15: 27

Yek SH & Slippers B. (2014) Biocontrol opportunities to study microevolution in invasive populations. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 29: 429-430 (Perspective)

Yek SH, Boomsma JJ, Schiott M. (2013) Differential gene expression in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants after challenges with two fungal pathogens. Molecular Ecology 22: 2173-2187

Yek SH, Nash DR, Jensen AB, Boomsma JJ. (2012b) Regulation and specificity of antifungal metapleural gland secretion in leaf-cutting ants. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 279: 4215-4222

Yek SH, Boomsma JJ, Poulsen M. (2012a) Towards a better understanding of the evolution of specialized parasites of fungus-growing ant crops. Psyche DOI:10.1155/2012/239392 (Invited Review)

Yek SH, Mueller UG. (2011) The metapleural gland of ants. Biological Reviews 86: 774-791 (Review)

Yek SH, Williams SE, Burwell CJ, Robson SKA, Crozier RH. (2009) Ground dwelling ants as surrogates for establishing conservation priorities in the Australian wet tropics. Journal of Insect Science 9: 12

Ito F, Hashim R, Yek SH, Kaufmann E, Akino T, Billen J. (2004) Spectacular batesian mimicry in ants. Naturwissenschaften 91: 481-484

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Postgraduate (Completed)

  1. Lee Jin Min (Co-supervision)

Academic/Corporate Community Engagements

Local Presentations

  • Sunway University Research Seminar – January 2018
  • Global Conference on Entomology (oral presentation) – November 2012

International Presentations

  • International Union for the Study of Social Insects, Finland (oral presentation) – August 2016
  • Department of Anthropology, University of Zurich (invited seminar speaker) – April 2016
  • Brunei Nature Society (invited talk to BNS members) – March 2011
  • International Union for the Study of Social Insects, UK (oral presentation) – December 2010
  • Joint conferences of Australian Entomological Society’s 36 AGM and scientific conference of the 7thInvertebrate Biodiversity and Conservation, Australia (oral presentation) – December 2005



  • Vice-Chancellor Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Pretoria, South Africa, Evolutionary Approaches to Applied System