Sofya (Sofia) was born in Moscow, Russia. Her interest in the sea life arose during a summer zoological practice at the MSU White Sea Biological Station in 2011, where she was able to study a variety of marine animals and plants in their natural habitat. During her undergraduate years, she worked on a project on the diversity of symbiotic copepods from sea lilies. Later her research interests shifted to copepods associated with the reef-building corals.
Sofia completed her Master’s degree in Invertebrate Zoology in the Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU), under the supervision of Dr. Ivanenko. Her M.Sc. thesis was dedicated to the molecular diversity and phylogeny of Poecilostomatoid copepods associated with scleractinian corals of genus Pocilloporidae in the Red Sea. In late 2014, during the last year of her MSc, Sofia visited KAUST, where she had an amazing opportunity to see Red Sea coral reefs in person and work in the lab.
In August 2015 Sofia joined Dr. Berumen’s Reef Ecology Lab as a PhD student. Her research is focused on the molecular diversity and phylogeny of copepods associated with scleractinians throughout the Indo-Pacific, their specificity in relation to their coral-hosts, and their biogeographical distribution.